Boca Raton Wrongful Death Attorney
If a family member’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness, the surviving family may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party.
Although no amount of money can replace them, the monetary damages awarded in the lawsuit will provide compensation for the loss of their financial contributions to your household and for your emotional suffering.
To learn how an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can help you, schedule your free consultation by calling (561) 655-1990 or using this online form.
What Qualifies for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida
Under Florida Statute 768.19, if one of the following acts caused a person’s death, they wouldn’t have died if not for that act, and if they would’ve had a legitimate personal injury claim had they survived, the surviving family may have a viable claim for a wrongful death lawsuit:
- A wrongful act
- Breach of contract or warranty.
Negligence occurs when all of the following elements are met:
- A party had a special duty or duty of care to the injured person
- The party who owed the duty breached or violated that duty
- The breach of duty caused the accident or incident which resulted in the victim’s death
- There must be measurable and provable damages resulting from the incident that caused the death.
For example, all drivers on the road have a duty to drive safely, attentively, and sober. If a driver engages in distracted driving such as texting while driving and they cause a fatal accident, the driver may be liable for the damages associated with a wrongful death claim filed by the deceased’s surviving family.
When a party engages in a wrongful act, an intentional or unlawful act, that leads to someone’s harm and death, they may be liable for the associated damages. Examples of wrongful acts that include assault and battery, drunk driving, murder, illegal chemical dumping, and more.
Breach of Contract or Warranty
If someone has a contract with another person, they break that contract, and it results in someone’s death, they can be held liable for damages.
For example, as part of the sale of a product, the manufacturing company has a contract with the company selling the product and the purchaser that the product is safe. If the manufacturer sold an unsafe defective product and the product’s failure caused someone’s death, they can be held liable for those damages.
Major Differences Between Survival Actions and Wrongful Death Claims in Florida
1. Available Damages
The damages that are available in a wrongful death claim include compensation for the negative impact on the family caused by the death, including the loss of financial contributions they made to the family and the loss of emotional support.
Survival actions, on the other hand, only offer damages that the deceased would have been able to collect had they lived, such as lost wages and medical bills.
The persons who file a wrongful death suit receive the monetary damages, whereas the damages awarded in a survival action are paid to the decedent’s estate and are then distributed in accordance with their will or estate plan or in line with Florida intestate succession rules if there is no will.
Our Compassionate Attorneys Will Help You and Your Family Every Step of the Way
With an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, on your claim, we’ll ensure that the insurance company is held accountable, and pays you the complete amount you deserve for the wrongful death of your loved one. Here’s a brief summary of each step we’ll help you with so you know what to expect.
Investigate and Gather Evidence
We’ll conduct a thorough investigation and gather evidence to prove that the party who caused the death was liable. Some of this evidence may include witness statements, photos, surveillance video footage, police reports, and medical records–we’ll leave no stone unturned.
After we feel that we have sufficient evidence to support your request for damages, we’ll file a claim with the insurance company or a lawsuit, whichever is most appropriate for your case.
Discovery is a vital step of all litigation to assist in the collection of evidence to support your claims and to discredit the other side’s defenses–the opposing party will also be able to send you discovery to answer. Discovery can begin after a lawsuit is filed and served and includes the following:
- Interrogatories: These are written questions sent to the other party that they must answer under oath
- Requests for Production or Inspection: You may ask the defense to provide certain documents or things such as reports, photos, or videos, or you may ask them to present items for inspection
- Requests for Admissions: Similar to interrogatories, these are written statements that you ask the defense to admit the truth of
- Depositions: A deposition is taking oral testimony of the defense, witnesses to the events, or expert witnesses. All testimony provided at a deposition is under oath and can be used to conduct further discovery or can be used for impeachment at trial.
- Subpoenas: Subpoenas can be sent to non-parties for them to produce documents or things. As an example, you can subpoena the mechanic’s records for the defense’s car if you believe the car accident was caused by the driver’s failure to properly maintain their car.
- Examinations: If relevant to your case, you may request a physical or mental examination of the other party.
Negotiate a Fair Settlement
Insurance companies work for profit, seeking to maximize revenue and minimize costs such as paying out damages for the death of your loved one. We’ll negotiate with them and show them that they have higher exposure and risks if they refuse to settle your claim for what you’re entitled to.
Take Your Claim to Trial
If the insurance company refuses to be fair and negotiate an adequate settlement, trial will be necessary. While going to court may seem intimidating and confusing, your attorney and team at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have decades of combined experience in wrongful death cases and will thoroughly present your case to the court and the jury to obtain the best result possible using the facts and circumstances of your case.
Don’t Wait–Time Might be Running Out
Under Florida Statute 95.11(7)(d), you have two years after your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit–if you miss this deadline, you can’t collect any damages. Court seems daunting and it’s intimidating to meet with an attorney and file a lawsuit, but you’ll be supported and informed through every step of your case.
Was the death of your family member caused by a wrongful act? We can help.
Losing a loved one can send your life into disarray, and it can be difficult to put together a wrongful death claim on your own while trying to process your grief and the emotional strain you might be facing.
Working with a skilled Florida wrongful death attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath will remove some of the stress and help you start the next chapter of your life. To discuss your options, contact us online or call us today at (561) 655-1990 to schedule your free consultation.