Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

Plane crashes are rare, but when they occur, the consequences are typically devastating. As with other catastrophic accidents, negligence usually plays a role in plane crashes. While people who lost a loved one due to a plane crash will often pursue claims against the pilot flying the plane at the time the mishap occurred, they may seek to impose fault on other parties as well. The liability of the entity that licenses pilots for negligently licensing a flight instructor was the topic of a recent Florida opinion, in a case in which the court dismissed the plaintiff’s claims against the federal government. If you lost a loved one in an accident, it is smart to meet with a Florida personal injury attorney to discuss your potential claims.

The Subject Accident

It is reported that the decedent owned a small plane. Pursuant to his insurance policy, he was required to complete ground and flight training twice a year. The insurer approved the use of a company that offered training to people who owned and piloted aircrafts. The decedent hired the instructor, an independent contractor who worked for the company, to train him. On the second day of training, the decedent and instructor left the airport and initially had a normal flight track before they entered into an uncontrolled descent and crashed. Both died in the collision.

Allegedly, the plaintiff, the decedent’s wife, filed a lawsuit naming the federal government as a defendant, asserting that it negligently issued the instructor a pilot certificate. The defendant moved to dismiss the plaintiff’s claims, and the court granted the motion. Continue reading ›

In the state of Florida, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is responsible for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. If your loved one recently passed away as the result of another person’s negligence, call one of our wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible. We can help you prove that the other party neglected their duty to the decedent to exercise reasonable care.

If you have any questions regarding wrongful death’s in Florida, please feel free to contact us and we’ll get back to you with an answer as soon as possible.

Q: Who Can File for Wrongful Death in Florida?

It’s unfortunate when a loved one passes away because of another driver’s negligence. We understand that this time is difficult for you and other surviving family members.

However, there is a limited window of time for the decedent’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Our wrongful death attorneys can help you win compensation for lost earnings, loss of companionship, and other damages.

Continue reading to learn the other ways we can help you prove wrongful death after a fatal car accident.

While it’s a topic no one ever wants to think about, it is important to understand how to navigate the process of a wrongful death claim. In this post, we will be here to guide you through the phases of a wrongful death claim, ensuring your are prepared and informed should you ever be faced with this unfortunate situation.

What Qualifies as Wrongful Death?

While all familial deaths are devastating in their own right, the event of a wrongful death brings with it strong emotions due to the situation’s preventability. Whenever the loss of a loved one occurs due to wrongful death, it means their passing was caused by another individual’s or company’s negligence or outright attempt to harm.

In Jordan v. Nienhuis, the plaintiff was the personal representative of a man who died. The plaintiff filed a wrongful death action against the defendant in his capacity as a Sheriff in Hernando County. According to the complaint, the plaintiff alleged that a 911 operator was negligent in responding to a call requesting medical help.

The trial court concluded that the Sheriff did not owe a duty to the decedent and dismissed the case with prejudice. When an action is dismissed with prejudice, it means the plaintiff cannot refile the lawsuit. The plaintiff appealed.

In reviewing the trial court’s order granting the Sheriff’s motion to dismiss, the Florida Fifth District Court of Appeal reviewed the allegations in the complaint. The facts are as follows. According to the plaintiff, the decedent suffered a medical emergency that prevented him from breathing normally. His wife contacted 911, and the 911 operator told the wife that help was on the way. The decedent eventually stopped breathing and lost consciousness. After informing the 911 operator of this, the operator told the wife to leave him there and wait for EMS assistance, which arrived shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, the man passed away.

It is unfortunate, but we occasionally see instances where medical negligence causes a person to suffer from severe injuries which result in death. In these cases, surviving members of the victim’s family may bring a suit for wrongful death against the healthcare professional. While the financial costs of losing a loved one are significant, it is also an emotionally devastating event. The survivors of a patient deserve compensation for their mental pain and suffering, but have previously faced difficulties getting the full amount they deserve.

In Florida medical malpractice cases, a claimant is limited in recovering noneconomic damages. Noneconomic damages are those that do not compensate an injured person for their financial losses, but instead are compensation for pain and suffering, mental anguish, and physical impairment. An injured person generally is only allowed to recover a maximum of $500,000 in noneconomic damages. However, the law allows an award of up to $1 million if a medical professional’s negligence resulted in a permanent vegetative state or death of the patient. It is significant to understand that the law caps these damages at the listed amounts, regardless of the number of claimants involved.

Until now, these Florida laws have limited the amount of recovery in wrongful death cases. However, the Florida Supreme Court recently addressed the constitutionality of Florida’s damage caps and held that the limit on wrongful death noneconomic damage violates the Equal Protection Clause of Florida’s Constitution.

There are many Federal and Florida state laws in place that protect drivers from accidents that occur as the result of a defective roadway design. Florida experiences a never-ending flux of tourist traffic and some of the highest rates of roadway construction in the country. This leads to many opportunities for defective roadway crashes to occur.

It can be very difficult to establish liability in a defective roadway design case, due to the large number of statutory protections that are afforded to the government entities that are responsible for designing our public roadways and highways. A recent Arizona Supreme Court decision, however, shows Florida residents that it is not entirely impossible for a plaintiff to recover compensation when his or her injuries are the direct result of a defective roadway design.

Glazer v. State, No. 1 CA-CV 12-0572, arose from a motor vehicle accident that occurred in 2007 on Arizona’s I-10 freeway. One of the defendants was driving east along the I-10 freeway, which had been constructed in 1967. The I-10 freeway also travels through much of Florida in an east-west direction. The defendant driver was forced onto the highway shoulder when a semi-tractor trailer attempted to change lanes. The defendant driver was able to avoid colliding with the semi-tractor trailer, but she was unable to drive back onto the freeway. She lost control of the vehicle, “shooting across the median and into oncoming traffic.” The vehicle crashed head-on into the plaintiff’s vehicle, causing severe injuries to the plaintiff and killing the plaintiff’s husband and minor child instantly.

Lawsuits brought against tobacco companies have been some of the most widely watched actions across the country. In a recent decision, a Florida appellate court concluded that a new trial was appropriate in an action involving a multi-million-dollar judgment against a group of tobacco companies. In RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Calloway, the defendant tobacco companies filed an appeal after the jury at the trial returned a verdict against them totaling millions of dollars.

In the underlying dispute, the plaintiffs had asserted claims for strict liability, fraudulent concealment, negligence, and conspiracy to commit fraud. The plaintiff was the personal representative of the estate of a man who died after suffering complications allegedly linked to his frequent use of cigarettes. Evidence at trial indicated that the man had started smoking cigarettes when he was 15 years old.

At the close of trial, the jury took this evidence into consideration and concluded that the deceased man was roughly 20.5 percent at fault for the injuries he sustained as a result of his cigarette usage. According to Florida law, a jury can consider whether a plaintiff acted negligently and whether this negligence was partly responsible for the injuries that the plaintiff sustained. If the jury determines that the plaintiff acted more negligently than the defendant by attributing 51 percent or more of the fault  to the plaintiff, the plaintiff may be barred from recovering compensation altogether.

A recent survey of accident reports prepared by police departments throughout Florida indicates that the number of fatalities in motorcycle crashes has risen nearly 25 percent in roughly a year’s time. During 2014, the number of motorcyclists killed in accidents increased from 449 to 554. Even though they only represent three percent of the total number of registered vehicles in Florida, motorcycles are involved in roughly 19 percent of the fatal collisions that occur in the state.

Another survey showed that one out of every six motorcyclists does not carry an insurance policy for their bike. This creates many problems for injured motorcyclists, especially if they are involved in a collision with one of the numerous Florida motorists who do not maintain drivers insurance. If an uninsured motorcyclist is involved in a collision with an uninsured driver, the injured motorcyclist’s options for recovery will be severely limited.

To recover compensation from a negligent driver, the injured motorcyclist must demonstrate that the defendant failed to exercise appropriate care when operating his or vehicle and that this failure was the direct cause of his or her injuries. In the devastating event that the motorcyclist loses his or her life as a result of the collision, Florida allows the decedent’s surviving heirs to bring a claim against the defendant, seeking compensation for expenses incurred as a result of the accident as well as for their pain and suffering.

In the recent case of Sorenson v. Professional Compounding Pharmacists of Pennsylvania, Inc., the decedent was a resident of Ohio who suffered injuries in a car accident that resulted in long-term back pain. His physician had prescribed hydromorphone administered via pain pump, which was inserted into his spinal canal.

During a vacation to Florida, the decedent made an appointment with Charlotte Pain Management Center, to which his treating physician had referred him. One of the doctors at the Florida facility prescribed hydromorphone but increased the concentration from 10 mg/mL to 30 mg/mL. The care facility sent the prescription to the pharmacist, who compounded the medication and sent it back to the care facility. The facility then administered the medicine to the decedent through his pain pump, and he died later that day.

The executor of the decedent’s estate filed a wrongful death claim that included a medical negligence claim against the care facility. Among the allegations and causes of action, the complaint stated that the pharmacist was negligent in filling the prescription, which called for triple the amount of hydromorphone. The pharmacist filed a motion to dismiss the three causes of action based on the negligence per se doctrine, and the trial court granted the motion.

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