Losing someone you hold dear to your heart due to the negligence of another party or person can have a devastating effect on you and those who were dependent on the deceased. If their death was caused by someone else, you, according to Florida law, reserve the right to file a compensation claim against the responsible party.
A professional and knowledgeable West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer can assist you in developing a compelling claim and securing the highest possible compensation for your losses. And while West Palm Beach has its fair share of wrongful death attorneys, they aren’t all the same. For this reason, you need to make sure that the wrongful death lawyer in West Palm Beach you pick is not only professional but also has the skills and experience required to handle your case and deal with the defendant’s insurance provider.
Contact Steinberg Law for professional, reliable, and dependable legal counsel and representation in West Palm Beach, Florida. Call 877-783-4611 now to schedule a no-obligation meeting with our professional personal injury attorneys and have your case reviewed for free.
How is Wrongful Death Defined in the State of Florida?
Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, anyone who’s lost bereaved reserves the right to file a claim against the responsible party if they are guilty of causing the death either through negligence, any wrongful act, or breach of warranty or contract. In Florida, wrongful death includes negligent acts, intentional acts, as well as breaches of contract and warranties. Some legal grounds for a wrongful death claim in West Palm Beach, Florida, include:
- Defective or mislabeled products: Wrongful deaths caused by defective, mislabeled, or harmful products such as faulty medical devices, electronics, drugs, or appliances can lead to a product liability claim.
- Medical Malpractice Surgical errors, misdiagnosis, and wrong prescriptions are also potential grounds for a wrongful death claim in West Palm Beach.
- Construction and engineering malpractices
- Car accidents that are caused by drunk or highly intoxicated drivers
- Criminal acts, including intentional homicides,
- Improper alcohol serving, such as when a bartender continues to serve alcohol to someone who is already intoxicated.
Who is Qualified to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
While the death of a loved one isn’t that easy to accept, things tend to become a bit more complicated if the deceased was your family’s primary source of income. The problem with this is that, apart from grieving the loss of your loved one, you also have to start thinking about your family’s financial future. To ensure that the person who caused the death is held accountable for your loss, consider filing a wrongful death claim against them.
In Florida, anyone listed as a representative of the decedent reserves the right to file a claim for the wrongful death of their loved one. However, in situations where the decedent hadn’t picked a representative, the court will appoint one. It should be noted that wrongful death claims are filed on behalf of the decedent’s next of kin. The person chosen to serve as a representative should make a list of all survivors with an interest in the matter.
In Florida, people who can file a wrongful death claim include:
- The decedent’s spouse
- The decedent’s children
- The decedent’s parents
- Adoptive siblings or blood relatives who were partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support.
It should be noted that if you’re the child of a single mother and she passes away, you can file a claim for her wrongful death. If your father is deceased, however, you can only collect damages if he publicly acknowledged you as his own and supported you. If you’re unsure of whether you qualify to file a wrongful death claim, contact us at Steinberg Law today for professional legal counsel and advice on the matter.
What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim?
In Florida, you may be entitled to compensation if your loved one died as a result of a product flaw, medical error, workplace accident, auto accident, or other traumatic incidents. You have the right to seek compensation against the person or entity that caused your loved one’s untimely death. An experienced and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney in West Palm Beach, Florida can assist you in filing a wrongful death claim.
The Wrongful Death Act of Florida allows for the recovery of two main categories of damages, including compensation for the surviving family members’ emotional suffering and compensation for the deceased’s medical bills, burial costs, and loss of net accumulations. The deceased’s spouse, children, parents, and any dependent, such as an adopted brother or sister or a blood relative, are all considered survivors under Florida’s wrongful death laws. Net accumulations here represent the savings that the decedent would have accrued had they not died so soon.
Damages that can be recovered include:
The law grants the survivors of the deceased the right to compensation for their loss of services and support, mental anguish, loss of protection, and any burial or medical expenses paid on their behalf.
Damages Available to the Decedent’s Estate
The decedent’s estate may be entitled to compensation for lost earnings, loss of net accumulations, as well as for funeral and medical costs. Determining how much the decedent would have left in his or her estate had they not died so prematurely is what determines net accumulations or loss of income capacity.
Can the Deceased’s Family Pursue Punitive Damages?
Yes, they can. Punitive damages are a form of monetary compensation awarded to the deceased’s family when it is established that the victim wouldn’t have perished if it weren’t for the at-fault party’s careless behavior. Punitive damages are disciplinary and are generally meant to discourage others.
How is Negligence in Wrongful Death Claims Proved?
A wrongful death claim must be backed by specific elements for it to be accepted by a judge or insurance provider. For you to be successful in your demand for financial compensation for the untimely loss of your loved one, four elements must be established.
Duty of care – You must prove to the court that the party responsible owed your beloved duty of care in that particular instance.
Breach of duty – You also must prove that the responsible party breached their duty of care and that anyone reasonable would’ve acted appropriately in the same situation.
Damage – You also must prove that the responsible party’s breach of duty is what led to the untimely death of your loved one.
Causation – As the plaintiff, you also need to prove that the death of your loved one was caused by the responsible party’s inaction or action and not by any other cause.
How Do You Start a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
According to Florida’s wrongful death statute of limitations, the plaintiff has two years from the day their loved one died to file a wrongful death claim. If the death of your loved one was caused by medical malpractice, then please note that you’ll need to wait for a while until the matter is investigated. Also, before you can file a medical malpractice claim, a notice of intent must first be sent to the party you are about to sue.
Filing a claim for wrongful death in Florida can be complex and typically starts with electing a personal representative for the deceased’s estate. To avoid any complications and to ensure that you receive the compensation you need for your loss, consider hiring the services of a professional and experienced West Palm Beach wrongful death attorney for legal counsel and assistance.
What is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death Claim and an Estate Claim?
When a person dies due to the reckless or negligent actions of another person, there are two main options through which justice for the decedent can be achieved through personal injury or tort laws. The two options are a wrongful death claim and an estate claim.
Wrongful death claims center around the deceased’s family and allow the deceased’s family members to file a claim for damages. Damages in this instance may include:
- The suffering and grief the family has had to endure
- Outstanding medical bills brought about by the victim’s injuries
- Funeral expenses
- The future and current income they’ve lost due to the untimely death of their loved one.
Estate claims, on the other hand, are centered around the decedent’s suffering rather than their family’s financial loss and grief. In estate claims, the deceased’s estate may recover damages for the suffering and pain the deceased experienced and for his or her lost earnings and medical bills—similar to what the deceased would have recovered through a personal injury claim had they survived. The compensation recovered is then distributed through the decedent’s estate rather than his or her surviving family members.
Contact a Professional Wrongful Death Lawyer in West Palm Beach for Assistance.
If you’re thinking of filing a wrongful death claim in West Palm Beach, Florida, make sure you reach out to a professional and reputable injury law firm for assistance. At Steinberg Law, we’ve handled hundreds of wrongful death claims and have the experience, skills, and knowledge you need to file a successful wrongful death claim in Florida. Our Florida law firm is home to a competent team of legal experts that possess the skills required to prepare, investigate, and file a wrongful claim and can help you determine whether your case qualifies for a claim or not.
Dealing with a loved one’s death can be emotionally distressing and challenging. As such, if you’d like to avoid further stress while increasing your chances of receiving the compensation you need and deserve, why not reach out to us and let us help you file and pursue a wrongful death claim? With Steinberg Law by your side, you do not need to worry about legal costs since you’ll only pay us if we win the case and get you the compensation you need.