If you lost a loved one due to someone’s reckless or negligent behavior, you have the right to pursue justice on their behalf through a wrongful death claim.
An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney from Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can help you through this difficult and confusing time. When you work with us, you’re working with a team of experts with a history of obtaining full compensation for clients. To schedule your free no-obligation case review, call us at (561) 655-1990 or contact us online.
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What Florida defines as wrongful death
In order to be valid, a wrongful death suit must meet the guidelines outlined in Florida law. These laws state that a person’s death must be “caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of contract” of another party. The estate of the deceased may bring a civil wrongful death lawsuit before the courts to seek damages for the loss of their loved one.
Common accidents resulting in wrongful death
Just about any kind of accident that can lead to a severe injury can also result in wrongful death. Examples include the following.
Car accidents cause terrible impacts that can kill a person instantly. Most of the time these accidents occur due to negligence on the part of another driver.
Truck accidents are even more devastating than car crashes. Commercial trucks are so much larger than passenger vehicles (some weigh upwards of 80,000 pounds). Several parties may be to blame for a truck crash.
When the carelessness of a doctor or other medical professional leads to death, the surviving family members may be entitled to significant compensation.
Workplace accidents can be fatal, especially when heavy machinery is involved. If that machinery is defective, the survivors of the deceased may be able to take action against the manufacturer.
Accidental poisoning and overdose
Manufacturers have a duty to warn users of potentially dangerous substances about the potential risks. When they fail to meet that duty, they could face a potentially damaging lawsuit.
Important things to know about your wrongful death case
If you’ve lost a loved one, you’re likely going through significant emotional and financial challenges. A Florida wrongful death lawyer can help you determine if your situation qualifies for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death cases in Florida require proof of negligence. Evidence must prove:
Duty: The person held liable had a responsibility of “due care” to the victim
Breach of Duty: The breach or failure of the defendant to uphold that duty of “due care.”
Causation: Prove that the breach of duty is the direct cause of the victim’s death
Damages: Prove the victim actually suffered damages (in wrongful death cases, “death” would be the primary damage caused, but there may be others)
Who has the right to file
You will also need to determine if you qualify to file a wrongful death claim. In Florida, wrongful death claims can only be made by those directly related to the deceased. For example, spouses, children (adopted or biological), or other biological/adopted relatives can benefit from a claim. However, a best friend or boss cannot file this type of lawsuit.
Since only immediate family members can file a wrongful death claim, amassing this evidence in the wake of a tragedy can be difficult and even traumatic.
We’re here to help you work through this challenging time. If you have any concerns or suspicions that your loved one’s death might have been caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another, please contact one of our Florida personal injury lawyers for further consultation and assistance.
What damages may be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits are like any other civil lawsuit for damages in that you can claim three types of damages: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages can be recovered for anything that costs you financially. These are any bills due to the accident, lost wages, or property damage that you had to pay out of pocket for. In the case of wrongful death, you can seek future economic damages as well. These cover finances lost due to the death of a loved one who provided for the household.
For example, you can seek economic damages for:
Loss of a loved one’s income that they would have earned had they not perished
Loss of income for the plaintiff due to care for the deceased, grief, and funeral arrangements
Travel expenses of any dependents visiting the deceased before their death, if they were first hospitalized
Loss of household or childcare services provided by the deceased
Expenses for medication, hospitalization, or treatments
Funeral and burial expenses
Non-economic damages refer to losses that don’t come with a receipt. These cannot be quantified with a bill, but rather have ongoing consequences. Typically, they involve emotional trauma due to the loss of a loved one and their companionship.
Examples of non-economic damages you can seek are:
Loss of companionship
Pain and suffering
Loss of guidance or care
Love of consortium (spouses only)
Who may be liable in your wrongful death case
There are a lot of reasons why you’ll need the help of a Florida personal injury lawyer when pursuing a wrongful death claim. Maybe the most important is that this type of case is incredibly complex because there could be several parties to blame for your loss. These are just a few examples of those who could be potentially liable.
If a truck accident caused their death, there could be several people and entities you’ll need to sue. These include the truck driver, the company that owns the truck, the driver’s employer, the loading company, and many more. An experienced wrongful death attorney in Florida can investigate to determine all responsible parties.
Medical professionals have a duty of care to provide the best possible treatment to their patients. Failure to do so can be fatal. A surgeon could have made a mistake, or a nurse could have negligently given too much medication. The family members could take action against the negligent medical professional as well as the facility where the harm occurred.
If your loved one died due to murder or another crime, the person committing that crime may face long imprisonment, however, you could also file a suit against them to recover financial damages through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Defective or dangerous product manufacturers
Any manufacturer that causes death by producing a dangerous or defective product could face substantial liability. A wrongful death attorney in Florida will perform a thorough investigation and make sure that the company faces full accountability for its negligence.
How wrongful death settlements are paid out
The payment of wrongful death settlements can be complex. If, for example, the deceased had no children, determining which family members are eligible for compensation can be challenging. In other instances, such as if there is only a surviving spouse, the process might be much easier. In either case, you’re going to need the help of a skilled wrongful death attorney in Florida.
Cost of hiring a Florida wrongful death attorney
The law firm of Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath works on a “contingency fee basis.” That simply means you won’t pay anything unless we achieve a successful result on your behalf. Our firm will pay for the investigation, any documentation we need to prepare, and much more. If we’re successful, we’ll receive a percentage of your compensation.
You won’t have to worry about paying anything out of pocket during your case. This allows you to concentrate on healing from your terrible loss while we take care of everything else.
Contact an experienced Florida wrongful death lawyer today
At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we do everything we can to make complicated legal issues as simple as possible. We offer several options for learning more about wrongful death cases in Florida. Call us at (561) 655-1990 or use our online form to ask any questions you may have with one of our knowledgeable representatives.