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No one is ever truly prepared to deal with the loss of a close friend or family member. When these deaths happen unexpectedly, families often find themselves struggling to cope with not only the emotional trauma of the incident but substantial financial losses and responsibilities associated with their loved one’s passing. If this sounds like what you are going through, you are not alone.

A skilled and compassionate lawyer with Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath can help. We’ll help hold the liable party accountable to the fullest extent of the law. Call our personal injury lawyers for a 100% free consultation today and make those responsible for your relative’s wrongful death pay.

fort myers wrongful death attorney

How Florida defines wrongful death

Florida law states that a wrongful death occurs when one party is responsible for causing the death of another due to a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.”

This means it does not matter whether the person who caused the death did so intentionally, accidentally, or through malpractice. If you are unsure whether you have grounds to file a claim, do not hesitate to discuss your options further with a dedicated Fort Myers wrongful death lawyer at our firm for help.

Common accidents resulting in wrongful death in Fort Myers

You may need the legal support of a reputable Fort Myers personal injury lawyer if your loved one has been killed and you suspect or have reasons to believe another party is liable. Wrongful deaths and fatal injuries can occur in multiple types of accidents and incidents. Here are some of the most common types of wrongful death accidents and culpable parties:

Car accidents

Many car accidents are caused by negligent drivers. Some examples of negligent driving could include:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs
  • Drunk driving
  • Driving while fatigued
  • Distracted driving, including manual, cognitive, and visual distractions
  • Driving over the speed limit
  • Refusal to stop at a stop sign or traffic light
  • Failure to use a turn signal or making illegal turns
  • Other types of traffic violations

However, poor and unsafe driving is not the only cause of fatal car accidents. Dangerous road conditions due to a failure to maintain the integrity of the roads can also cause fatalities.

The city of Fort Myers, the Florida Department of Transportation, and the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles could be sued in these cases. Furthermore, safety inspectors, parts manufacturers, maintenance workers, and other third parties could share fault if malfunctioning auto parts contributed to your loved one’s death.

Truck accidents

In fatal collisions involving commercial trucks, the reckless truck driver may be held accountable where appropriate. Truckers are held to a higher standard than other motorists due to the massive size of the vehicles they operate. Failure to properly inspect the truck for defects and driver safely at all times could warrant a lawsuit.

The trucking company that employs them could also be held accountable for failure to make necessary repairs or do their due diligence before hiring a trucker.

Medical malpractice

Fatal medical malpractice claims can be filed against nearly any type of negligent or reckless healthcare provider with help from your Fort Myers wrongful death lawyer. Some of the most common medical mistakes known for causing fatalities include:

  • Misdiagnosis
  • Medication mistakes
  • Birth injuries
  • Delayed diagnosis
  • Failure to treat or provide follow-up care
  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia mistakes

Workplace accidents

No matter what environment you work in, work accidents have the potential to cause serious injuries. A wrongful death attorney in Fort Myers can help you file a wrongful death action against those responsible and access the workers’ compensation death benefits your family may be entitled to. Some of the most common types of workplace accidents include:

  • Construction accidents
  • Factory accidents
  • Work-related car accidents
  • Explosions and fires
  • Electrocutions
  • Machinery or equipment accidents
  • Manufacturing accidents
  • Exposure to toxic substances
  • Falls from elevated heights

Accidental poisoning and overdose

Accidental poisonings and overdoses are particularly devastating for surviving families, as these deaths are often completely unexpected, leaving the family totally unprepared for what is to come. Some instances in which you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim due to overdose or accidental poisoning include:

  • Property owner’s failure to provide working carbon monoxide detectors
  • Pharmacy workers filling a prescription with the wrong medication
  • Physicians prescribing medications without taking or reviewing the patient’s medical history
  • Property owner’s failure to remove lead paint
  • Exposure to asbestos when construction companies fail to provide workers with necessary safety gear

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Florida

According to Fla. Stat. § 768.20, all wrongful death lawsuits must be filed by the deceased person’s personal representative. The decedent had the right to appoint anyone of their choosing to act as the executor of their estate. This could be a spouse, adult child, parent, friend, mentor, or another party.

However, any benefits awarded in the wrongful death claim will go to the decedent’s beneficiaries. If you are unsure whether you have the authority to pursue the lawsuit, make sure to contact a skilled wrongful death attorney in Fort Myers. Call (561) 655-1990 now.

Wrongful death claims have special deadlines. Make sure you file on time

Under Fla. Stat. § 95.11(4)(d), time is limited to file your wrongful death action. You have just two years from the decedent’s passing to get your lawsuit filed in Fort Myers civil courts. Although filing a lawsuit is likely the furthest thing from your mind, the sooner you get started, the greater your chances of success are.

With that being said, there are some instances where the statute of limitations may pause temporarily or be “tolled.” According to Fla. Stat. § 95.11(10), if the decedent passed away due to homicide, murder, or manslaughter, for example, the two-year wrongful death statute of limitations would not apply. Instead, there would be no time limit to filing the claim.

Potential damages you could claim

Your wrongful death attorney in Fort Myers, FL will be by your side to ensure your family and the decedent’s beneficiaries recover the compensation you are entitled to. These funds can help you cover the funeral and burial expenses, avoid financial ruin, and ensure the liable party is held accountable for their recklessness.

Certain damages are paid to the decedent’s estate while others will be awarded to the decedent’s beneficiaries and family under Fla. Stat. § 768.21. To ensure fair compensation is recovered, damages may need to be categorized as economic or non-economic.

Economic damages

Economic damages include every loss that is financial or monetary. Any out-of-pocket costs will be covered by the liable party. Economic damages awarded to the decedent’s family could include:

  • Out-of-pocket funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of household services
  • Loss of financial support

Economic damages awarded to the decedent’s estate could include:

  • The decedent’s lost income and earning capacity
  • The decedent’s burial and funeral costs of covered by the estate
  • Loss of the decedent’s employee benefits
  • The decedent’s funeral and burial expenses

Non-economic damages

The decedent’s family may also seek compensation for non-economic damages as well which do not have a monetary value. They are, however, far more impactful. Examples of potentially recoverable non-economic damages include:

  • Emotional trauma
  • Pain and suffering
  • Loss of their loved one’s protection, support, companionship, and intimacy
  • Loss of parental guidance, love, advice, and support

These are only a few examples of potentially recoverable economic and non-economic damages. Your wrongful death attorney will review your losses in detail to accurately calculate the value of your claim and fight for the compensation to which your family may be entitled.

Who may be liable in your wrongful death case

Liability and your wrongful death claim are dependent on the type of accident your loved one was involved in.

At-fault drivers

When your family member is killed in a fatal car accident, negligent drivers can be held accountable if they were drunk, distracted, drowsy, drugged, or violating traffic laws.

Medical providers

If your family member passed away due to a medical mistake or error, nearly anyone responsible for your loved one’s treatment and care could be sued, including physicians, midwives, pediatricians, surgeons, and hospitals.

Criminal offenders

In some cases, wrongful deaths occur due to violent assault, including murder. These criminal offenders can be brought to justice through a criminal trial as well as through your wrongful death claim.

Defective or dangerous product manufacturers

When product manufacturers, designers, or distributors send our products to consumers that are inherently dangerous or defective, they could be ordered to compensate your family for every recoverable loss.

How wrongful death settlements are paid out

Wrongful death settlements can be paid out in several ways depending on the specific circumstances of your case. For example, if your loved one passed away in a fatal car accident, you may be filing a claim with the insurance company to recoup some of the most expensive economic damages. In this case, you might receive a portion of your funds through an insurance settlement.

However, since insurance settlements are often not enough to compensate families and the decedent’s estate, it is necessary to file a civil wrongful death action. This can be obtained through a settlement with the liable party outside of court or through a trial verdict. You may need to pursue compensation across multiple avenues to ensure the at-fault party is brought to justice.

Cost of hiring a wrongful death attorney in Fort Myers

You and your family have already been through enough. We will cover all the expenses of pursuing your case, and when we win, a percentage of your award will go to your attorney’s fees. If we are unable to produce a financial recovery in your case, you can rest easier knowing you are not required to pay even a penny for our legal services. This way, you can pursue justice without putting yourself or your family at risk.

Our Fort Myers wrongful death attorneys are here to help you and your family

When you are having trouble coping with the devastating emotional trauma of your loss, bringing forward a wrongful death action may be the furthest from your mind.

However, when a Fort Myers personal injury lawyer with Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath takes your case, you can focus on mourning your loss while we build a powerful case against the liable party. Find out more about how the wrongful death claims process works when you complete our quick contact form or call our office at (239) 888-8882 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation today.

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