Orlando, Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer

 

Central Florida Wrongful Death Attorney

Long after a fatal accident, families feel the loss of a loved one who died because of the negligence or acts of others. At Christopher A. Pace, P.A., we are cognizant of the pain felt by survivors and offer compassionate representation in wrongful death litigation.

In seeking to recover wrongful death compensation, Christopher A. Pace will meet personally with families to learn as much as they can about loved ones and what their loss means to surviving members of the family. We represent clients throughout the Orlando and Central Florida area, as well as throughout the rest of the State of Florida.

Who Can Collect Wrongful Death Damages?

Spouses, children and parents of wrongful death victims may be eligible to recover damages. Under Florida law, family members can collect economic damages for medical and funeral expenses, as well as non-economic damages for loss of companionship of the family member and emotional suffering. (In medical malpractice cases, only children under 25 or those who were financially dependent may collect for the death of a parent).

Wrongful death claims may arise from any accident or intentional act — fatal car crashes, death by hospital malpractice, dangerous premises, defective products, and aircraft accidents.

If a family member has suffered a wrongful death and you would like schedule a free consultation, please call (407) 459-1735 or e-mail information regarding your loved one’s wrongful death. Christopher A. Pace, P.A. serves clients in the Orlando, Florida, area, and Altamonte Springs, Sanford, Lake Mary, Kissimmee, Windermere, Oviedo, Winter Springs, Winter Garden, as well as Orange County, Brevard County, Osceola County, Seminole County, and Duval County, Florida.

Florida Wrongful Death – Frequently Asked Questions:

Q: What is Florida’s Wrongful Death Act?

A: Florida’s Wrongful Death Act allows for an action to be maintained when death is caused by any wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty. The Act gives the survivors of an individual who is killed a right of action based on the underlying tort committed against the person who died. Christopher A. Pace is an Orlando wrongful death lawyer servicing all of Central Florida and the State of Florida. Contact Christopher A. Pace today to discuss your wrongful death claim or to learn more about Florida’s Wrongful Death Act.

Q: What must be proven in a wrongful death case?

A: The plaintiff in a wrongful death case must establish that the wrongful act caused the death of the individual whose estate is bringing the wrongful death case. Usually, death is caused by the negligence of another individual. Negligence is: (1) a legal duty owed by the defendant (in a wrongful death case, the person who caused the death) to the plaintiff (the person who died); (2) breach of that duty by the defendant (3) an injury to the plaintiff that was legally caused by the defendant’s breach, and (4) damages as a result of the injury.

Q: Who can maintain a wrongful death claim in Florida?

A: The personal representative of the individual who died may maintain a wrongful death claim in Florida. The personal representative is the party who must seek recovery of all damages for the estate and each survivor who has a claim based on the wrongful death of the decedent. The personal representative must bring a single action to recover the full amount of damages for the estate and all beneficiaries. The Wrongful Death Act contemplates that any recovery by the personal representative in the wrongful death action specify the amount awarded to the estate and the amount awarded to each survivor.

Q: What damages are recoverable in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit?

A: Two basic types of damages are recoverable in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit: (1) damages recoverable by the survivors of the decedent (the person who died) and (separate and distinct) (2) damages recoverable by the decedent’s estate. Designated survivors may recover damages for lost support and services, loss of companionship and protection, mental pain and suffering, lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, and medical and funeral expenses if those expenses were paid by a survivor.

The estate may recover damages for loss of “net accumulations” or “future accumulations”; decedent’s lost earnings, and decedent’s medical and funeral expenses. The personal representative of the decedent’s estate may recover for the estate the loss of prospective net accumulations of the state which might reasonably have been expected but for the wrongful death of the decedent provided certain conditions precedent are met.

Q: What are “net accumulations”?

A: The net accumulations theory has been adopted in Florida. It is defined under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act as “the part of the decedent’s expected net business or salary income, including pension benefits, that the decedent probably would have retained as savings and left as part of his estate if he had lived his normal life expectancy.” “Net business or salary” is defined as “part of the decedent’s probable gross income after taxes, excluding income from investments continuing beyond death, that remains after deducting the decedent’s personal expenses and support of survivors, excluding contributions in kind.”

Q: Can punitive damages be awarded in a Florida wrongful death case?

A: Yes, punitive damages are recoverable in wrongful death cases. Punitive damages may be awarded if the defendant is personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Intentional misconduct means the “defendant had actual knowledge of the wrongfulness of the conduct and the high probability that injury or damage to the claimant would result and, despite that knowledge, intentionally pursued that course of conduct, resulting in injury or damage.” Punitive damages must be established by the greater weight of the evidence.

Q: Are mental pain and suffering damages available in a Florida wrongful death case?

A: Yes, Florida’s Wrongful Death Act provides that five categories of survivors may recover for their mental pain and suffering caused by the decedent’s death: (1) the surviving spouse, (2) minor children, (3) adult children when there is no surviving spouse of the decedent, (4) each parent of a deceased minor child, (5) and the parents of an adult child when there are no other survivors.