Losing a loved one through a death that could have been prevented is devastating. From medical malpractice to reckless driving, many people have lost their lives due to the actions of another. The loss is always hard to accept and sudden and unexpected death can cause emotional turmoil and financial hardship for the rest of the family.
If the death was a result of recklessness by another person or people, the family has a right to file a wrongful death claim. Financial restitution for a wrongful death can’t take away the pain of your loss, but it can help your family cope with the ordeal.
It is best to hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Boynton Beach to represent you. At Steinberg Law, we are committed to helping Florida families get the justice they deserve after the tragic and preventable loss of a loved one.
How Is Wrongful Death Defined in Florida?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act (Section 768.19) defines wrongful death as the death of a person caused by “the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person.”
In simple terms, a wrongful death is caused by someone else’s careless, reckless, or criminal actions.
The following list outlines some situations that can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida.
- Medical malpractice, for example, surgical mistakes, medication mistakes, etc
- Defective products such as drugs, appliances, medical devices, or electronics
- Faulty construction
- Homicide or any crime that results in death
- Nursing home abuse/neglect
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents caused by careless drivers
- Tainted food or other sanitation issues in retail establishments
- Pedestrian accidents
- Sip and fall accidents
Who Is Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
The law in Florida allows only the executor of the deceased’s estate to file a wrongful death claim. The courts may name an appropriate Personal Representative if there isn’t a will. The executor acts on behalf of the beneficiaries of the deceased and must list all of them when filing the claim.
According to Florida Statutes Section 768.21, the following people can receive compensation through a wrongful death claim.
- The Deceased’s Spouse
- Biological and Legally Adopted Children
- Dependent Parents
- Listed Beneficiaries (Heirs)
What Types of Damages Are Recoverable?
If a wrongful death claim is successful, the court orders the responsible party to pay damages as compensation for the death. Under Florida law, the surviving family and the estate can recover compensation.
Damages paid to the family usually include money to compensate for:
- The loss of the support and services the deceased person supplied to family members.
- The loss of companionship.
- Mental pain and suffering.
- Loss of parental instruction and guidance.
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by surviving family members.
The deceased person’s estate may recover damages including:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other income the deceased would have earned.
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by the estate.
Can Surviving Family File for Punitive Damages?
Under Florida law, a court may award punitive damages to survivors if evidence shows that the negligent party’s actions were intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent. These damages are awarded in addition to compensatory damages.
Florida limits punitive damages to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater.
How Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Boynton Beach Help Me?
There are many benefits to getting a lawyer to help with your wrongful death case. Here are some of the ways our attorneys in Boynton Beach, Florida can assist you.
Wrongful death attorneys are able to build a solid case through an investigation that includes collecting evidence such as witness statements, police reports, and photos or videos of the accident. They can also speak with relevant specialists, such as medical experts or accident reconstruction specialists.
Knowledge of the Law and Filing Your Claim
With all the stress and grief that accompanies an unexpected death of a loved one, you may not be up to the task of filing paperwork and going to court proceedings. Plus, you likely aren’t familiar with the laws and how to navigate the complex legal process.
Hiring a wrongful death lawyer takes the stress off you and allows you to focus on the funeral and taking care of the estate left behind by your loved one.
Our lawyers have dealt with numerous such cases and understand the specific wrongful death laws in Florida. We will take care of filing your claim and ensure you don’t miss the deadline set by the statute of limitations.
A lawyer will let you know how much your claim is worth and negotiate on your behalf for a just settlement agreement. An experienced lawyer knows how to handle insurance companies and responsible parties that are unwilling to compensate you.
Additionally, they will do their best to see that you get fair compensation as soon as possible.
Trial Preparation and Representation
Most wrongful death cases end in a settlement agreement. However, if the responsible party or their insurance company won’t offer fair compensation, we are ready to take your case to court.
How Is Negligence Proved in a Wrongful Death Case?
Your Boynton Beach wrongful death lawyer must prove four key points to demonstrate that the defendant was negligent and should be made to pay compensation.
Duty of Care
Your wrongful death attorney will show the defendant owed your family member a “duty of care.” In other words, the negligent party should have acted the way a reasonable person would have in the same circumstance. For example, all drivers have a duty to follow traffic laws.
Breach of Duty
The next step is to demonstrate how the defendant breached the duty of care. Continuing with the example of a car accident, your attorney might present evidence that the defendant was driving drunk or speeding.
Your attorney must provide evidence that shows the breach of duty of care was directly responsible for your loved one’s demise. In other words, the defendant’s careless or reckless actions caused the death.
The damages in this type of case are your family member’s untimely demise and the associated financial and emotional impact on the family. Your attorney will demonstrate that your family has been harmed by the loss of the deceased and has experienced financial damages due to the death.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Florida has a 2-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. That means once your loved one passes due to wrongful death, you have two years from the date of the death to file your lawsuit. Failure to file the claim in time may result in no recoverable damages.
Once your loved one passes, you can contact us at Steinberg Law as soon as possible. We will review your case to determine if you have grounds for a lawsuit and let you know what type of compensation you could recover. We will then file the case on your behalf and take you through the steps required and the necessary documentation.
We’ll negotiate for the best possible settlement for your wrongful death claim. While most cases are resolved without going to trial, we are ready to represent you in a court of law if a settlement agreement isn’t reached.
What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and a Survival Action?
In Florida, the estate representative brings a wrongful death lawsuit after someone dies as a result of another’s negligent or intentional actions. A survival action is a continuation of an existing claim filed by the victim.
Suppose a person injured in an accident files a personal injury case but dies later of unrelated causes while the case is pending. If this happens, the victim’s family members can pursue a survival action. If the victim files a personal injury claim but dies from injuries sustained in the accident, the family can pursue a wrongful death case.
The difference between survival actions and wrongful cases is that survival actions seek compensation for the pain and suffering the victim experienced before his/her death.
Call our Boynton Beach Wrongful Death Lawyers Today!
Losing a loved one is especially traumatic when the death is due to another person’s or entity’s negligent or intentional actions. The unexpected turn of events can leave families emotionally and financially devastated.
Florida law gives families the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party and recover compensation. While money can’t make up for the loss, the compensation recovered can help restore your family’s financial stability.
You will want a skilled and experienced wrongful death attorney to handle your case. At Steinberg Law, we are committed to providing unrivaled legal counsel and representation.
Contact us at 877-783-4611 to schedule a free initial case review with a wrongful death lawyer in Boynton Beach, Florida. The sooner you call, the sooner we can get started on your case and help you receive the maximum compensation for your loss.