Wrongful death lawyer

f you need an Orlando wrongful death lawyer, we frequently receive calls from those who have lost a loved one due to the unthinkable negligence of someone else.

If you have recently lost a loved one, first I must say that I am terribly sorry for your loss. I know that the pain, anguish, grief, and despair can be almost too much to bear. This pain is often significantly heightened, and coupled with a lot of anger, if another person or company caused the death of your loved one. The untimely death of a cherished person is the ultimate tragedy that any family can face. And death caused by someone else is always untimely, regardless of the age of the person who died. Unfortunately, as an Orlando wrongful death attorney, the only thing I can do is try to help with the financial burdens that often come along with the extreme grief.
You might be reading this while also being in shock, denial, or unrelenting pain. The important thing at this moment from a legal perspective, if someone else might have caused this terrible turn of events, is that you do not allow your shock, denial or grief to influence your decisions about how best to move forward.

If you read nothing else before hiring an Orlando wrongful death attorney, we cannot more strongly urge you to call us to learn the reason why personalized service makes a huge difference in the ultimate case value.

Florida Wrongful Death Laws 101
Learn the basics in an easy to follow format, by viewing this Slide Share:
What Are The Available Damages In A Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits can lead to recovery for the survivor’s pain and suffering, as well as lost net accumulations, and lost earnings (for example, anticipated lost wages for the remainder of the life expectancy for the person who died).

Pain and suffering is usually the highest value category of damages, yet impossible to quantify. One important thing to know is that the closeness of the relationship between the survivors, and the deceased, can have a big impact on the value of a wrongful death case.

Read more about the available damages in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit.

What Is The Average Value Of A Florida Wrongful Death Case?
The average case value for all reported Florida wrongful death cases is 1.2 million.

Values are lower when fault is not clear, the relationships between the deceased and the survivors was not strong, or the available insurance coverage is too low.

Values are higher when there is strong evidence that the defendant’s fault is clear (such as a rear-end accident), there are multiple survivors as defined by the wrongful death statute, there is good evidence that the relationships were very close, and there is sufficient insurance to cover the higher amounts.

Many factors can cause a significant variation in the potential value of a Florida wrongful death case.

For example, if there are more survivors, then the case value could increase by the number of survivors. That’s because each survivor may have his or her own right to recovery.

If the defendant has very little insurance coverage, which happens very often in individual car accident cases, then the recovery may be limited to the value of that insurance policy. So, any given case could have a range in value from zero (no insurance coverage) to several million. But a case worth several million would require extremely compelling facts, multiple survivors under Florida’s wrongful death statute, good evidence of strong relationships between the deceased and survivors, good evidence of the defendant’s guilt, and plenty of insurance coverage.

Regardless of case facts, the maximum we can recover is often the amount of any insurance policies (unless there is a large corporation (business) or very wealthy individual defendant).

On the other hand, the case value may only be limited by what we can prove. For example, if the defendant is a large corporation, then they have plenty of assets and / or insurance to cover all available damages. This might be true in a negligent security (dangerous property) or medical malpractice wrongful death case, for example. In those cases, the case value depends on the strength of the evidence regarding the defendant’s fault, the number of survivors, and the available evidence of the closeness of the relationship between each survivor, and the deceased.

Read more about the value of a wrongful death case.

Beyond the available insurance, many other factors can change the case value, such as good or bad evidence for either side.
If there is good evidence that you were very close to the person who died, you would have the higher value case, as long as there was also good evidence of the defendant’s negligence, and there is money available to pay.

We say “good evidence” because, in some wrongful death cases, there can be little evidence of the relationship between the survivors (such as photos, videos, testimony of disinterested witnesses). There may also be few witnesses to the accident, so we have to rely on the physical evidence, such as how the accident happened. If there is a homicide report (from the police), then how they describe the accident can be very important. There are rare cases when we will decide that the police were wrong in the homicide report (such as overlooking something obvious about the defendant’s guilt). But not usually.

Wrongful death settlement amounts can vary a lot depending, again, on the type and amount of insurance coverage, the degree of negligence that led to the death, and whether the person who died might have also been negligent (for example, in some auto accidents, both drivers share some fault). If there is mixed fault, then there is usually a lower recovery. But there may still be a substantial amount of money involved.

However, even if you were not close to the person who died, we may be able to help. We would just employ a slightly different strategy in the case, to get you the most money possible. The difference in strategy would depend entirely on the type of relationship, what problems there might have been in the relationship, and how often you spent time with the person who died. We have helped even those with very estranged relationships get a very high recovery. Please call us for more information.

Degree of negligence of the at-fault party
If the at-fault party was extremely negligent, then the damages are generally higher. For example, in an auto accident that caused someone’s death, if the other driver had been drinking, or texting while driving, that is more negligent. Or if the other driver rear-ended the person who died, that would also be more negligent. However, if the other driver had a heart attack, and caused the accident, there would be less negligent. Every case is different, so we often need to investigate to better evaluate any Florida or Orlando wrongful death case.

Possible negligence of the deceased
If the person who died might have contributed to the accident, then there can be a mixed recovery. That means that a jury could decide that the deceased was some percentage at fault, while the other party was some percentage at fault. For example, if an auto accident involved an intersection collision, there might be some dispute regarding whether the deceased stopped for a red light. If the evidence were mixed, then a jury (or insurance company during settlement discussions) could decide that the deceased was 50% at fault, and the other driver was 50% at fault. The jury could also decide to split fault 90 / 10, 80 /20, or any numbers they wanted to designate.

If you believe that there might have been mixed fault, but still another person or business shares some responsibility for your loved one’s death, please give us a call.

Amount of insurance coverage or available assets of the at-fault party
Even if the at-fault party was 100% responsible, and extremely negligent, wrongful death damages are often limited by the amount of available insurance coverage. There could even be zero recovery in the worst cases. However, we are extremely diligent in trying to make sure we have thoroughly considered all available insurance proceeds. Most of the time, there is some recovery. If there was clearly negligent, there is often a much higher recovery in cases involving semi-trucks, Uber or Lyft vehicles, commercial or business trucks or vehicles, commercial businesses (like a hotel where there was a rape & murder), or construction accidents. The reason is that those business often either have more assets, or more insurance, or both. So there is more money available to pay wrongful death survivors.
Only certain family members are able to sue for wrongful death damages. WHO can sue varies, depending on whether the wrongful death was caused by medical malpractice, or something else, like an auto accident.

In Non-Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Cases
If the death was caused by anything other than medical malpractice, there is a broader scope for which family members can sue. So, if the death was caused by anything other than medical malpractice, we strongly consider cases from surviving spouses, children (any age), and parents (of any age child, as long as there was no surviving spouse or children).

In Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Cases
WHICH SURVIVORS can sue is very different between medical malpractice, and non-medical malpractice, wrongful death cases.

If the death was caused by medical malpractice, we only consider cases by the surviving spouse, or children who were under 25 when their parent died, or parents of children who were under 25 when they died, with very limited exceptions. Usually, we will not accept a med mal wrongful death case unless we receive a phone call from either the surviving spouse, parent to a minor child who died, or children (under 25 when the death occurred)) of someone who died.

Read more about who can sue for Florida wrongful death damages.

You can also read which survivors may recover under the actual Florida wrongful death statute here.

If you are confused, but lost a loved one due to a situation that you feel might have been negligent (aka wrongful death), please give us a call. We are Orlando wrongful death lawyers who may be able to help parents (if no surviving spouse or children), children, or surviving spouses from negligent / wrongful death by anything other than medical malpractice. If med mal was involved, then we usually only consider cases from parents of children under 25 who died, surviving spouses, or children who were under 25 when their parents died.
Many different types of accidents could lead to a successful wrongful death lawsuit. But some do not. As Orlando wrongful death lawyers, our first job is to help our potential clients decide whether they have a potential case worth pursuing. We have trained our telephone staff to recognize which cases might lead to a successful case. If you might have one, then we will have a highly experienced Florida wrongful death lawyer speak with you very quickly, to evaluate your case in depth.

Wrongful Death Cases Might Arise From Any Auto Accident
In general, successful wrongful death cases may arise from ANY automobile accident.

However, not all automobile accidents involve the same amount of auto insurance coverage, which is usually how our clients get monetary recovery. So, for example, if one person has one million dollars in auto insurance coverage, but another has only $10,000, and that person causes the death of another person, those insurance coverage limits usually make a big difference in the outcome. That means that some accidental death cases lead to a higher recovery than others, regardless of how bad the negligence was.

Some cases that can lead to the highest values (assuming there was negligence on the part of the other driver) are semi-truck accident cases, commercial vehicle accident cases, ride share accidents (i.e., Uber & Lyft), construction accidents, commercial (not city) bus accidents, and the like.

Wrongful Death Cases Might Arise From Construction Accidents
Construction companies are often required to comply with strict safety guidelines, both during road construction, and off road construction. If your loved one died in the middle of any construction zone, then you definitely might have a viable Florida wrongful death case.

Wrongful Death Cases Might Arise From Negligent Security
Successful Florida wrongful death cases might have also been caused by negligent security or dangerous property. For example, if your loved one was shot or stabbed by an unknown or known assailant in a restaurant parking lot, then the restaurant MIGHT be responsible. That depends on how good or bad the restaurant security was, and whether there is a lot of crime in the area.

Wrongful Death Cases Might Arise From Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice may also cause wrongful death. However, unfortunately, we also have to reject a large number of medical malpractice cases. The reason is that we need clear evidence that the doctor or medical provider caused the death, through negligence. That might happen if the death happened under suspicious circumstances (for example, the person underwent a routine surgery, but died, or died way too young when not suffering from any terminal illness). That might also happen if there was a misdiagnosis of cancer, heart attack, stroke, or any terminal illness.

Wrongful Death Cases Might Arise From Dangerous Products or Drugs
Any product on the market could cause someone’s death. For example, if an air bag did not deploy, then the air bag manufacturer might be responsible. Or a dangerous drug could lead to someone’s death. There are countless examples of products that cause or contribute to death. If you think a defective product killed your loved one, please give us a call to learn more.

Wrongful Death From Other Causes Or Accidents
Wrongful death can be caused by countless accidents or unexpected dangers. For example, someone might have been attacked by an alligator. Or a deadly snake. If any accident was caused by the negligence of any business, or any individual with insurance or significant assets, then we may be able to help. So, if YOU think negligence might have caused your loved one’s death, please give us a call or send us a text.
What Is The Statute Of Limitations for Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
The state of limitations for wrongful death cases is two years, from the date of death, or from the date of discovery of the negligence. There is a tremendous amount of complicated Florida case law expanding on the concept of the “date of discovery.”

Most of the time, we will not accept a case unless their loved one died less than about 1 year and 11 months from the date someone called us.

But there are exceptions, and all law firms are different. We just need time to investigate the facts before filing any lawsuit. There may be other law firms that would accept cases far beyond the statute of limitations. We might also accept a case beyond the statute of limitations, but only if there is a VERY STRONG argument that the survivors could not have discovered the negligence earlier.

Additionally, the sooner we get started on ANY wrongful death case, usually the better. Critical evidence can start disappearing very quickly. This might include witness statements, physical evidence (like black boxes in vehicles, defective products, landscape if death caused on dangerous property, etc.), documentary evidence (like cell phone records), and the like.

So you absolutely SHOULD NOT think of the statute of limitations as your deadline for calling a Florida wrongful death lawyer.

We cannot more strongly emphasize the critical need to call us immediately, if you think you might have a viable Florida wrongful death case. Waiting to call absolutely could destroy the case value 100%. The plaintiff has the burden of proving his or her case. This is a heavy burden. So we need to start collecting evidence ASAP, before it’s gone.

Read more about the statute of limitations in Florida wrongful death cases.

How Long Does A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Last?
Wrongful death cases can vary in length from 30 days, to a few months, to many years. There are a lot of factors that determine how long any individual case might take.

We try very hard to resolve wrongful death cases as quickly as possible. We know that our wrongful death clients often need financial support to survive, particularly if their lost loved one helped them with financial support.

In cases where the defendant’s fault is very clear, sometimes we are able to gather enough evidence to prove the negligence, and get the case resolved, within 30-90 days.

Other cases may require us to file a lawsuit and get on the trial court’s calendar for a trial. Trials are usually scheduled about 18 months after we file the lawsuit (and often we can’t file the lawsuit for several months, because we need to investigate, and collect evidence). Most cases involving litigation are resolved within 18 months of filing a lawsuit. However, there are exceptions, and we can’t always control those.

For example, during the pre-trial phase of the case, the defendant might be involved in a pending criminal case. This sometimes happens in drunk driving cases. If that happens, the defendant can repeatedly request to “stay” (put on hold) the civil case, to protect their rights in the criminal case. Or a critical expert might have scheduling conflicts, which cause delays.

If we are involved in litigation, we do everything possible to fight and minimize any delay requests from opposing counsel.

On average, most wrongful death cases are settled between 90 days after our client hires us, and 18 months. We can give you a better idea of the likely time-frame in your case, after you hire us, and we’ve done our preliminary investigation (which usually takes about 30 days).
Wrongful death lawsuits can be extremely complex or very simple.

The basic stages of any wrongful death case are (1) pre-suit (before filing any lawsuit), (2) pre-trial (after filing the lawsuit, but before any trial, and (3) trial (this is when a jury decides the value of the case). Many cases are settled during pre-suit, and many more are settled during pre-trial. Only about 2% of wrongful death cases actually lead to a trial with a jury.

Florida Wrongful Death Pre-Suit Process
During pre-suit, as wrongful death lawyers, we thoroughly research any possible at-fault parties (sometimes this involves a series of entities, like a seller, manufacturer, employer, builder, etc). Then we thoroughly research any available assets or insurance. We also notify all parties and their insurance companies that we are representing the survivor. We may or may not also send a letter demanding that they preserve any evidence. This can lead to critical evidence discovery in the case.

If we think the possibility of settlement pre-suit is high, then we will prepare a demand package, to send to all relevant parties. Our demand package would detail how the accident happened, what law applies, and details about the pain and suffering of our client, after losing their loved one.

If we think that a pre-suit demand letter wouldn’t help, then we will file a lawsuit as soon as we think we have enough evidence to get started.

Florida Wrongful Death Pre-Trial Process
During pre-trial, we are allowed to ask the defendants, through their lawyers, for a lot of evidence that might help your case. This includes requests for documents, requests to answer written questions (these are called “interrogatories,”) and depositions. Depositions are when we get to ask the defendant verbal (live) questions, in the presence of a court-reporter. Much of this evidence would be admissible, if we went to trial.

The defendant’s lawyer will also take our client’s deposition, and possibly the deposition of witnesses friendly to our client’s position. Anytime our clients have depositions, we thoroughly prepare our clients for their depositions, explaining likely “tricky” questions, as well as any problematic areas of evidence, and how best to respond to the questions.

We also might file motions demanding that the defense attorneys produce evidence, if they objected to producing something that we believed was critical to proving your wrongful death case. Or we might file motions to have the court rule in advance on the admissibility, at trial, of any evidence that we think would be extremely helpful, or harmful.

Similarly, the defense can file all sorts of motions (some of which can delay the case), and we respond to those.

Once both sides have collected most of the evidence in the case, there is usually something called a mediation. 90% of wrongful death cases are settled before, during, or shortly after mediation. Mediation is where both parties attend a meeting, with a neutral third party guiding the process (that is, the mediator). Often the mediator is someone with years of experience as a trial lawyer, who tries to get both sides to understand the strengths and weaknesses of their cases. The goal during a mediation is to settle the case.

If the case doesn’t settle during mediation, we still have options to get the case settled before trial. This might include filing additional motions to establish that the court isn’t going to admit any evidence the defendant wants to use. Or we might take additional expert depositions, such as the depositions of doctors during a medical malpractice lawsuit, security experts during a dangerous property / negligence security case, or crash reconstruction experts, during an auto accident wrongful death case.

Florida Wrongful Death Trial
If we are unable to settle the case pre-trial, then we go to a trial in front of jurors. Those jurors come from all walks of life, and can decide the case any way they want. We have a lot of techniques for handling the trial phase of the case, which go way beyond the scope of this article. But trial is when we present all of the evidence that we have collected on your behalf. We make a gigantic effort to tell the jury a story that will make them feel compassion for your situation. Or anger at the defendant. Or both.

The defense lawyers also get to present the evidence that they think helps their client.

There are many complex rules of evidence, which determine what is admissible in court, and what isn’t. Some of the rules aren’t clear. So the lawyers from both sides make their arguments about evidence. Then the judge decides what the jury can and can’t hear.

Once the jury has heard all of the evidence, they render their verdict, which is usually a dollar amount, and the percentage of fault they attribute to each party.
What Types Of Accidents Might Lead An Orlando Wrongful Death Lawyer To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are many different types of wrongful death lawsuits that can be extremely successful. As Orlando wrongful death lawyers, we consider the most typical wrongful death cases to be car or trucking accidents, such as semi-truck accidents, shooting death lawsuits (which is called negligent security, or premises liability), medical malpractice (where a medical provider caused death through negligence), and products liability (where a defective product caused death). Each one of those wrongful death cases has very different elements that must be proven. That means we need evidence to prove that whoever killed your loved one was to blame. We have many different ways to gather that evidence, which we will explain in detail when you call us.

Why Should You Consider Our Firm To Handle Your Florida or Orlando Wrongful Death Case?
Ms. Tina Willis has extensive experience handling Florida wrongful death cases.

She began her career as a big firm defense lawyer, and a law professor. As a defense attorney, she very often worked on cases that were worth over a million dollars, often many millions of dollars. So she knows exactly how the other side handles these types of cases.

Just as an example, Ms. Willis’ recent settlements include 1 million for an auto accident, 1.97 for a semi-truck accident, and 3.5 million for a medical malpractice case (these were before fees and costs and these amounts WILL vary depending on the case). She has had, or helped other attorneys achieve, many other high value settlements during her career. She has also defended many other high value cases.

Before starting her own private practice, Ms. Willis spent many years helping other Florida malpractice and injury lawyers with some of the most complicated issues in their highest value cases. These lawyers trusted Ms. Willis because of her impressive background, professional experience, and academic achievements. (Ms. Willis graduated second in her law school class, and won many prestigious awards and accolades during law school.)

After Ms. Willis opened her own practice to help injured victims, she won many more prestigious industry awards, including:

nominated as a “Ten Best Female Lawyers” in Florida, by the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys;
selected as one of the “10 Best Florida Lawyers,” by the American Institute of Legal Counsel;
selected as a National Trial Lawyers as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer;
selected as a “10 Best” Client Satisfaction Award, from the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys;
member of the Million Dollar Advocates Club (fewer than 1% of attorneys nationwide are members);
selected by Expertise.com as one of the 20 best Orlando medical malpractice lawyers;
selected as a Number One Personal Injury, Car Accident & Wrongful Death Attorney By Orlando Style Magazine, based on client and other attorney ratings;
selected as one of the “Three Best Rated” Orlando Accident Attorneys based on handpicked selection.
achieved a “superb” perfect “10.0” AVVO rating as an auto accident attorney.
named one of Orlando’s “Ten Best” personal injury attorneys by Thumbtack rating system.
Ms. Willis also has many five star reviews from happy clients. You can Google “Tina Willis Law Orlando,” to read those.
No One Ever Wants To Need An Orlando Wrongful Death Attorney, But I Can Help In Some Important Ways
Contacting an Orlando wrongful death lawyer is surely the last thing that you ever wanted to find yourself doing. But the difficulty is that you must continue supporting yourself and dealing with life’s many other challenges. This can be particularly burdensome for a surviving spouse, minor children, or other family members who may have relied on the deceased person for financial as well as emotional support. For that reason, if you have even an inkling that you might have a potential wrongful death case, I strongly encourage you to use all of your strength to take action that might help you survive financially, which should include contacting an Orlando wrongful death lawyer if you suspect that wrongdoing caused this terrible event. Denial is one of the five stages of grieving and can impact whether some people call an Orlando wrongful death attorney or believe that anyone should be held accountable.

Unfortunately, no one can do the one thing that you most want, which is to bring back your loved one. But, I can help you prepare to move forward with the financial part of your life, as well as bring strong justice to bear against the wrongdoer. An Orlando wrongful death lawsuit can also help prevent the responsible party from continuing the same type of wrongful behavior in the future, thus potentially sparing others the same terrible fate your loved one suffered and the pain you are experiencing.

Why Should You Hire Me To Be Your Orlando Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Wrongful Death Lawyer OrlandoI am an Orlando wrongful death attorney with a great deal of sympathy, sensitivity, and, at the same time, strong passion and determination to use every legal avenue in an attempt to right such a terrible wrong. I have won numerous prestigious awards for my work. I am also a former law professor, so I understand the many intricacies of the law, and can help you sort through the maze of options confronting you (all the while explaining them to you in plain English). I have also worked for some of the largest law firms in the country, often helping to defend large corporations and big insurance companies. I know how the other side thinks and works. And I know the level of detailed preparation that must go into every wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, all of my clients receive the services of a team of wrongful death lawyers, all committed to providing the careful attention to detail that you deserve, and all with many years of experience, and all sorts of impressive awards, handling all phases of litigation.

Call Or Text Orlando Wrongful Death Lawyer Hotline 24/7 at (407) 383-7290
I will gladly speak to you for free and will give you my honest assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of your case. I am very focused on every case that I handle and give each and every one of them an extensive amount of time, thought, and strategic planning. Orlando wrongful death attorneys do not all handle cases the same way. In all areas of the law, there is a huge variation in what can be done (or not done) to prepare a case for trial. You can expect extensive research, investigation and communication (with you) from me, which is critically important during all phases of any Orlando wrongful death lawsuit.

What If You Aren’t In Orlando?
No worries. We accept wrongful death cases throughout Florida, including Orlando, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, and everywhere else in the state.

What If You Are From Another State?
I am a licensed attorney in the states of Florida & Georgia, so I can accept wrongful death cases from either of those states. If you are from another state, then I might be able to help you find a trustworthy attorney from your state (which is not always an easy thing to do on your own) through my attorney contacts all over the U.S., and stay involved in an oversight capacity.

My Website Is A Valuable Resource Regarding The Most Important Aspects of Florida Wrongful Death Law
I encourage you to spend some time reading this website because I have attempted to give a complete overview of wrongful death law, so my site should answer any of your general wrongful death legal questions. We’ve tried to answer the most frequently asked questions about wrongful death cases on our website.

Call Or Text Orlando Wrongful Death Lawyer Hotline 24/7 at (407) 383-7290
Calling Me Is Free And You Are Never Charged For My Services As An Orlando Wrongful Death Attorney Unless / Until I Help You Recover Any Money
If you have more specific questions, or feel that you would like to know whether you might have a wrongful death case worth pursuing, then please call or text (407) 383-7290. I pride myself on giving personalized service and, if I cannot take your call immediately, I will return any and all calls at the earliest possible time. You can call or text my office 24/7. You can also send me an email. You never have to pay for my services as an Orlando wrongful death attorney unless or until I help you recover money from the responsible party. I never mind speaking to any surviving loved ones about any and all of your potential legal options that might help your case.