Wrongful death lawsuits are especially challenging because families are going through a very emotional experience, grieving for a lost loved one due to another’s negligence. The family members are seeking relief and to some degree, a bit of closure, to the tragic and unexpected death as they continue with a mourning process that may never fully go away. When working with personal injury and wrongful death attorneys, many clients are unsure of what to expect, the time period involved or if they even have a case. With extensive medical and legal knowledge, more than three decades of experience and a committed staff, Florida wrongful death lawyer Jeffrey W. Hensley, P.A. has guided many Florida families to a resolution that may not have brought a deceased loved one back, but provided some monetary relief for a more certain tomorrow. Pursuing the negligent party can often bring about changes that might better protect another family in the future.
Do you have a wrongful death case? Wrongful death cases typically refer to civil claims that are filed in what would otherwise be a personal injury case if the incident had not resulted in loss of life. We can help you determine if you have a viable while also providing insight into the laws, time commitment and what to expect in a more general sense. Here’s a bit of insight and a look into what you can expect to be discussed.
Experience Matters in Wrongful Death Litigation
Jeffrey Hensley has extensive experience in wrongful death cases in Florida, including the Tina Galanos tragedy that unfolded in 2007, along with multi-million dollar wins for other clients. As a trial lawyer, his aggressive stance and commitment to his clients make him not just the first choice for many Palm Harbor residents, but the only choice. With an exceptional educational background, he is a force to be reckoned with both inside and outside the courtroom. He has dedicated his career to helping families who have lost loved ones due to medical malpractice, automobile accidents, traumatic brain injuries and more. He has grieved alongside the families he represents and he has stood up to corporate greed and demanded better for those same families in the courtroom.
What is a Wrongful Death Case?
Wrongful death is defined as a death caused by another party’s actions or negligence and according to the Centers for Disease Control, unintentional deaths are the 4th leading cause of death in the United States.
Keep in mind that seeking damages in a civil lawsuit is far different than what happens in a criminal court. Criminals receive punishment such as an extensive fine or a prison sentence; it’s only in a civil court dynamic that financial damages are awarded to the deceased’s family members.
Note that because of the death, the decedent’s estate must be factored into the equation. If the person died intestate, or “without a will,” the state of Florida will appoint an executor, even if the deceased has a modest estate. That person may legally file a wrongful death lawsuit, but he must include the deceased’s survivors. If, however, those survivors wish, they may file a suit for damages as well. Florida generally recognizes one’s spouse, his children, his parents and others who are partially dependent on the deceased as survivors. Not only that, but if the deceased’s children are younger than 25, their awarded damages may be higher than those who are well into adulthood. Of course, the law is quite detailed and while it can be overwhelming, it’s also clear on who may or may not file for damages due to a wrongful death in Florida. We strongly encourage anyone considering this type of legal action to speak to a qualified Palm Harbor wrongful death attorney.
Many also want to know how much they can expect to receive should their win a wrongful death case. There is not straight line answer to this question as each case is weighed on its own details and merits and who files the lawsuit plays a role, too.
So I’ve Filed A Wrongful Death Suit, Now What Do I Do?
Remember, finding the right legal representation should be your first priority. An experienced Palm Harbor wrongful death attorney will guide you through the process while working to ensure the details are handled and the legalities are filed according to Florida law. Don’t underestimate the importance of an aggressive legal advocate.
Filing the lawsuit is only the first step. Once you’ve met with our legal team and the process begins, it’s up to us to prove negligence before any damages can be awarded. The plaintiff is obligated to show the court that the defendant was at fault and as a result of that negligence, caused the deceased’s death.
As your Palm Harbor legal representation, we must prove a number of elements as part of your wrongful death case. We must address issues such as liability, negligence and cause of death as we work to recover compensation for funeral expenses, and non-economic losses such as loss of love and loss of the relationship and companionship. Some of these funds may be used to care for the decedent’s family, college expenses for a child, and outstanding debts and medical expenses.
In Florida wrongful death claims, we typically address what’s known as a “duty of care”. This means we must show the court that the defendant owed the deceased an obligation of care. This isn’t limited just to a medical professional. Let’s consider a case of a car accident where we believe another driver is at fault. We must prove the defendant had an obligation to obey the traffic laws while operating a vehicle, but didn’t. If he fails to meet this obligation, then he has breached his duty of care. The defendant fails if he breaks the State of Florida’s traffic laws. We must then prove what’s known as “causation,” which means the defendant’s actions caused the wrongful death. For example, did he cause the death by running a stop light? Was he driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol?
These cases, the closer they move to trial, can take a significant time commitment. Often, the parties involved agree that a settlement is the best route, provided they can agree. Each case is different and has different details that define the path you and your legal team take. Rest assured, Jeff is a formidable opponent in the courtroom and is known for his zealous litigation.
Jeff’s unique combination of medical and legal knowledge, combined with his extensive experience, and unyielding commitment has helped numerous families receive the compensation they deserve in cases involving wrongful death. Please contact us as soon as possible to learn if we can help you do the same. Our Palm Harbor wrongful death attorneys stand ready to help you recover compensation for some of your losses as you begin to pick up the pieces. We will offer legal advice, representation, protection of your rights and support as you go through this emotional experience. Your lawyer will serve as a determined advocate and committed representative. We invite you to contact our experienced Florida personal injury and wrongful death lawyers to discuss your case in a free case evaluation session. Call 727-781-3433.
The best!!! The Law Office of Jeffrey Hensley PA stuck by me through this long drawn out case and was always there to answer my questions!! Hopefully I never need this amazing team for anything else but if I do they will be my first call!
I am a Vietnam veteran who was exposed to Agent Orange.
Mr. Hensley helped me with my disability claim with the Veterans Administration.
I had been stonewalled by the system, after trying on my own for almost two years. He helped me through a very difficult time and my case settled within several months once he took over.
My wife and I cannot thank you and your firm enough for all that you did.
If you're looking for a good attorney this is the best place to go! Handled my claim fast. Thank you!! 5 Star's not enough!!