Clearwater Wrongful Death FAQ
What is the statute of limitations in a Clearwater wrongful death action?
Wrongful death actions have the same statute of limitations as their negligence counterparts. Depending on what the statute is for a particular type of case, it will dictate what the statute will be for the wrongful death component. If it is a wrongful death car accident claim for driving negligently, then the statute of limitations is four years. That is the most common type of wrongful death claim, although, there are statutes which are much shorter, such as the one for medical malpractice.
There is no difference between the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims and survival actions. The same four-year statute is used in the case of a survivor action from a negligent car accident that resulted in wrongful death. Your Clearwater wrongful death lawyer can help you file your suit before the statute of limitations is up.
Are there any significant differences between Florida and neighboring states in wrongful death cases?
Florida has very specific rules when it comes to negligence, and our rules are sometimes very different from the rules of other states. Our statutes of limitation may be different than in other states. In Clearwater, FL there are a number of different jurisdictions which coexist in our county that makes identifying witnesses and police reports as well as fact-finding more complicated for someone who does not understand the integral workings of our locale.
If someone is not from this area, they are going to have a very difficult time navigating not only the legal system but also the jurisdictions which together create the records and documents for a particular location where the incident happened.
Are there any legal measures or regulations in place which specify how to deal with the deceased’s estate in the absence of a will?
Absolutely. The statutory construction sets forth how an individual estate will be distributed if a person does not have their own will. This applies even if the survivor brings about a wrongful death suit.
Are Clearwater wrongful death cases usually settled out of court or in court?
The vast majority of wrongful death cases brought are settled out of court. The key though is to have a lawyer who has the experience in both out of court settlement negotiation as well as in court and trials.
This gives the lawyers defending the case reason to believe that they do not want to take this case trial, because of experience and ability. Therefore, they are more likely to give more reasonable compensation to the survivors of a wrongful death case, without having to go to court to get it.
What are the costs and advantages of each method – trial and settlement?
The advantage of settling before a case gets to court is that it is cheaper for the client because they do not have to pay the filing fee and the costs. They do not have to pay for the depositions or court reporters. The percentage which the attorney takes is usually less if it does not go to court. It can really save the clients a lot of money, so that even if the gross number is smaller, a lot of times their net takeaway can be more if they settle out of court. Settling before it goes to court, as opposed to taking a case through litigation, can be a lot less expensive.
On the flip side, if the insurance company or the at-fault party is not offering what the case is worth, then a lot of times there is little choice but to take the case to court and really fight for what that case is worth. Sometimes when the insurance companies or other defense lawyers know the lawyer they are dealing with does not normally go to court, they diminish the value of the claims for those lawyers.
The defense recognizes that those lawyers will not take them all the way through to trial. That is why it is very important to know whether or not your attorney is willing to take this case to court and try it in front of a judge or a jury. If they are not, the insurance company and the defense lawyers will often offer you less for your case.