Personal Injury

Mr. Hastings and his staff specialize solely in personal injury and wrongful death cases. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident or hurt by a product or drug, you need to speak to accident lawyers who understand your situation and can help to protect you and your family. Without an experienced and qualified lawyer, you are likely to miss important evidence or not follow proper procedures and risk losing your case.The other side has highly qualified professionals working against you. There is never any fee whatsoever unless you win and obtain a recovery. That is our NO FEE GUARANTEE. We provide a free initial consultation that will give you the opportunity to meet us and get a sense of whether we are the right firm to handle your case. We handle personal injury lawsuits on a contingency fee basis; that means you pay no attorney’s fees until we recover money for you. So don’t wait call our 24 Hour Helpline for a free consultation now at 904-247-4LAW.


The following types of personal injury and product liability cases are handled by Florida personal injury lawyer Brett Hastings.
Click on each to get more information.


Wrongful Death


If the people we love are stolen from us, the way to have them live on is to never stop loving them.James O’Barr

There is nothing more devastating than the loss of a loved one. Those who are left behind are left with seemingly overwhelming grief, losses that are never planned, and both legal and financial responsibilities that they aren’t prepared for. At the Law Offices of Brett Hastings, P.A., we fully understand that a wrongful death lawsuit won’t ever bring back a loved one, but we also know that by obtaining the justice that a deceased and their family deserves two critical outcomes take place. First, compensation for the family and loved ones left behind can help the family adjust and move forward. Second, by obtaining justice, we often insure in a wrongful death case that the wrongdoer will not continue to needlessly hurt others.

Often people are amazed to find out that wrongful death actions must be brought within two years of of their loved one’s passing. This is less than half the time allowed for all other negligence based claims which have a four-year statute of limitations in the State of Florida.

As a result, time is of the essence. You need to speak to a wrongful death lawyer like Brett Hastings who understands your situation and can help protect you and your family. Without an experienced and qualified lawyer, you are likely to miss important evidence, or not follow proper deadlines, and risk losing your case. The other side has highly qualified professionals working against you. There is never any fee whatsoever, unless you win and obtain a recovery. That is our NO FEE GUARANTEE.

We provide a free initial consultation that will give you the opportunity to meet us and get a sense of whether we are the right firm to handle your case. We handle wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis; that means you pay no attorneys’ fees until we recover money for you. So don’t wait – call our 24 Hour Helpline for a free consultation now at 904-247-4LAW.

WHAT TYPES OF CASE CAN BE WRONGFUL DEATH CASES?


The types of cases that are often involved in wrongful death lawsuits are:

Aviation or Plane Crashes
Beach Driving Injuries
Bicycle Accidents
Childbirth Malpractice
Child Neglect
Boating and Personal Watercraft Accidents
Fires and Explosions
Car Accidents / Crashes
Construction Accidents
Dangerous Drugs
Dram Shop (providing alcohol to minors or obviously intoxicated individuals)
Dog Bites
Drunk Driving / DUI Accidents
Golf Cart Accidents
Medical Malpractice Cases
Motorcycle Accidents
Negligent or Inadequate Security Cases
Nursing Home Abuse or Neglect
Pedestrian Injuries
Premises Liability Cases
Semi or Tractor Trailer Accidents
Shooting and Gun Violence Cases
Work Injuries

Wrongful Death Important Facts


The Definition of Wrongful Death and the Necessary Elements of a Florida Wrongful Death Case

Wrongful death is defined by statute in the Florida Wrongful Death Act, Florida Statute 768.16, which states that someone can file a lawsuit against the responsible person when any death is caused by any “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.”

The Elements of a Florida Wrongful Death Case

So by the very definition of wrongful death, both negligent and intentional acts are actionable. The legal elements of a wrongful death action that must be proven by a preponderance of the evidence in every case are as follows:

  1. Conduct that amounts to a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty;
  2. The conduct upon which the lawsuit is based must have caused the death of the decedent;
  3. The conduct that is the basis of the lawsuit would have entitled the person injured to file a lawsuit and recover damages if they had not died.

What Has to Be Proven in a Florida Wrongful Death Case

At first glance, these elements seem not only easy to comprehend, but also appear to be easy to prove in a court of law. Nothing could be further from the truth. The successful prosecution of a wrongful death case should only be left to a wrongful death expert like attorney Brett Hastings. The following factors are what make a wrongful death action so difficult to prove:

  1. Often the most important witness, the decedent, will obviously never be able to provide testimony. So the gathering of all evidence (witness testimony, circumstantial evidence, medical records etc.) in the manner that will be the most persuasive in proving the case must take place immediately, or as soon as possible, after the wrongful death.
  2. A wrongful death lawsuit MUST be be filed within 2 years or the lawsuit will be barred by Florida’s statute of limitations. This is really important to know as often people mistakenly believe that the statute of limitations in a wrongful death case is the same as in a negligence case (i.e. four years) in Florida.
  3. Before a lawsuit can even be filed, an estate must be setup and a personal representative must be appointed by a probate judge. These are legal protections of the decedent’s interests and cannot be glossed over.
  4. Expert testimony will need to be produced in court to establish the monetary damages associated with the loss of your loved one. (See the damages allowed under Florida law below – they can become very complex).
  5. The Florida Wrongful Death Act limits who can receive damages as a result of a wrongful death. The two groups that can recover under a wrongful death case are 1) the Estate itself; and 2) the decedent’s Survivors.
    • The Estate is essentially what the decedent left to any beneficiaries under his or her will or others in his or her lineage as defined by the “intestacy” statute. Intestate is a legal word used whenever there is no will.
    • “Survivors” means the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. It includes children born out of wedlock of a mother, but not children born out of wedlock of the father unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support.

Wrongful Death Damages

Nothing is more complicated or more critical than the law relating to wrongful death cases in the State of Florida than damages.

Survivors can recover damages for:

  1. Lost support;
  2. Lost services;
  3. Loss of Decedent’s companionship;
  4. Loss of Decedent’s protection;
  5. Mental pain and suffering;
  6. Loss of parental guidance; and
  7. Medical and funeral expenses when paid by survivor.

The Decedent’s Estate may recover damages for:

  1. Loss of Net Accumulations;
  2. Decedent’s Lost Earnings; and
  3. Decedent’s Medical and Funeral Expenses.

Florida’s Wrongful Death Act specifically defines “Support”,”Services” and “Net Accumulations.”

  1. “Support” includes contributions in kind as well as money.
  2. “Services” means tasks, usually of a household nature, regularly performed by the decedent that will be a necessary expense to the survivors of the decedent. These services may vary according to the identity of the decedent and survivor, and shall be determined under the particular facts of each case.
  3. “Net accumulations” means 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 her or his estate if the decedent had lived her or his normal life expectancy.
  4. “Net business or salary income” is the 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.

Initially, “Support,” “Services,” and “Net Accumulations” seem like straightforward matters to prove.  Any lawyer who specializes in wrongful death cases and is an expert like Brett Hastings will tell you that these are all hard fought issues that require hiring the appropriate experts to both investigate and advocate for the damage amounts on behalf of the Estate and the Survivors to insure that they get the justice that they deserve.

CAN THE WRONGDOER EVEN PAY FOR THEIR HORRIBLE ACTIONS?

We have all heard the phrase “You can’t squeeze blood from a turnip”. This simply means that you cannot get something from a person, especially money, that they don’t have. There can be no doubt that, if the wrongdoer or defendant doesn’t have the ability to pay nor any insurance for their wrongs, that could lead to a sad and tragic result. Thankfully, often after investigation into a claim, we are able to find other sources of payment for the wrongs that have occurred, despite the defendant or wrongdoer seeming at first to be unable to pay. For example, if someone is shot in a convenience store and others had been shot in the same store previously, the owners of the store would be liable for failing to have adequate security measures in place the night of the decedent’s passing.

YOU NEED A LAWYER WHO SPECIALIZES IN WRONGFUL DEATH CASES TO EVALUATE ANY POSSIBLE CLAIM

It is abundantly clear that, after reviewing this simple overview of wrongful death law, these are serious and complex cases. You need to speak to a wrongful death lawyer like Brett Hastings who understands your situation and can help to protect you and your family. Without an experienced and qualified lawyer, you are likely to miss important evidence or not follow proper deadlines and risk losing your case. The other side has highly qualified professionals working against you.

There is never any fee whatsoever unless you win and obtain a recovery. That is our NO FEE GUARANTEE. We provide a free initial consultation that will give you the opportunity to meet us and get a sense of whether we are the right firm to handle your case. We handle wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency fee basis; that means you pay no attorneys’ fees until we recover money for you. So don’t wait call our 24 Hour Helpline for a free consultation now at 904-247-4LAW.

Testimonials

  • Kenton S.

    They are the best law offices in the Jacksonville area! When you get hurt Brett and Marianne fight! I will always use the Law Offices of Brett Hastings because they really do care. Their team has brought me hope to getting my life back on track after my car accident. Thank you all! Marianne has such a big heart, she was a blessing through it all.

  • Eric L.

    I recommend Brett Hastings’ law firm to all of my friends. I had a great experience and hi staff kept me well informed every step of the way.

  • Nicky S.

    I am thankful that Brett Hastings from the Law Offices of Brett Hastings represented me. His case manager Marianne and Brett both were always just a phone call away. If they didn’t have the answer right there, they would definitely figure it out within a timely manner. The Law Offices of Brett Hastings helped me through the whole process beginning to end, and I was fully informed the whole time. I appreciate all the help and hard work. Thank you!

  • Zonchez P.

    The best law firm in Jax. The staff were very helpful: you’re able to speak to to someone every call, if not you get a call back swiftly. Marianne was amazing, very patient with me, and slowed everything down that seemed too fast for me. Five star rating! I wouldn’t advise you to go anywhere else other than Brett Hastings.

  • Shawna B.

    When entering into this lawsuit, I was initially very hesitant and overwhelmed. Once my hesitations subsided, I knew I was doing the right thing. Throughout the entire process, I was treated with respect and dignity. Everyone at the Law Offices of Brett Hastings was very professional. If I had a question or concern, it was answered promptly. All in all, I could not recommend a better place to help through this very intense process. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication.

  • Heather S.

    I am writing this as a note of appreciation for the outstanding service I received from the Law Offices of Brett Hastings team. Not only is the team incredibly knowledgeable about personal injury law, they are attentive, professional, and compassionate. It was a pleasure working with those who treated me not as another case, but rather as a person they were assisting through a difficult time. I cannot thank Brett, Marianne, and the whole Law Offices of Brett Hastings team enough for all of their hard work and dedication to my case.

  • Marvin N.

    I am very happy with the results from the Law Offices of Brett Hastings. They did everything they could to help me, and they went above and beyond. I would highly recommend them to all my family members and friends. Thanks for all you did!

  • Tracey U.

    Brett Hastings and Marianne Holmes, as well as their staff, are consummate professionals. They made a difficult situation easier and were always on top of the situation. I believe in them because they play fairly and I was satisfied with my settlement. They kept me involved in decision making as well. I will refer people to them whenever possible.

  • Patricia B.

    I would not hesistate to refer anyone I know with a problem or just for advice in order for them to help resolve any legal business. i am very happy with the service I have received from Maryanne and also Brett Hastings. I just want you to know how much I appreciate every thing you are doing and have completed for me.

  • Christopher S.

    Thanks to the Law Offices of Brett Hastings & Attorney Hastings & his Staff for there hard work in taking on a corporate giant in today’s world and stood up for me and my rights and we WON!! He made sure I was rewarded with what was due to me and always puts me first ahead of his firm. Thank you All so much for the closure, and finally a law firm that does what they say.

  • Leny F.

    I am so grateful for the work that Brett Hastings and his office put towards making our case a success. It was truly a pleasure to meet his staff and I always felt that my case was treated with the utmost respect and attention. I always felt that they treated me first as a person, and secondly, that they were empathetic to the difficult events I had experienced. Finally watching my case reach a resolution was the first step in getting closure for my family and I. After a series of dark clouds in our life, Brett’s success with our case was the first ray of light we had seen in a very long time. My family and I are eternally grateful for him and his incredible team.

  • Andrew C.

    Brett and his team have assisted my wife and I on 3 separate occasions. The first was a father serious accident with a commercial vehicle. Eventually (3 years later), there was a there was a serious surgical procedure and without the help of the Law Offices of Brett Hastings, I’m not sure the positive outcome would have been the same. Great people, giving great advice and guidance along the way. More importantly their positive attitude helps make a frustrating process bearable.

HOW CAN WE TAKE A STAND FOR YOU?


REQUEST A FREE CONSULTATION

Law Offices

Downtown Jacksonville

Fernandina Beach

St. Augustine

Law Offices of Brett Hastings, P.A.
226 N 3rd St.
Jacksonville Beach, FL 32250

(available for consultation)
300 W Adams St #550
Jacksonville, Florida 32202

(available for consultation)
1678 South 8th Street, Suite G-4
Fernandina Beach, Florida 32034

(available for consultation)
2801 N 3rd St
St. Augustine, Florida 32084

904-247-4400
FREE 24-Hour Help line:
904-247-4LAW

904-247-4400
help@justiceforjax.com

904-247-4400
help@justiceforjax.com

904-247-4400
help@justiceforjax.com