West Palm Beach Wrongful Death Attorney
The loss of a family member to an avoidable accident or incident caused by someone or something else is a tragedy that might be accompanied by financial losses in addition to the emotional loss.
Attorneys at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath understand that no amount of money can replace your loved one’s life. However, the financial compensation you could be entitled to through a wrongful death action could be helpful for your financial recovery and future.
We’re available to provide you with a risk-free consultation of your wrongful death claim. Call us at (561) 655-1990 or use our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.
When You Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
Florida Statute 768.19 dictates the circumstances under which a wrongful death claim can be filed. It specifically states that the decedent’s surviving family can a claim if the was caused by the following acts, whether they occur on land or on navigable waters:
- A wrongful act
- Breach of contract or warranty, or default.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under Florida Statute 768.18(1), the deceased’s “survivors” who may file a wrongful death action include:
- Any blood relatives and adoptive siblings who are partly or wholly dependent on the deceased for services and support.
Differences Between a Survival Action and a Wrongful Death Claim
The primary difference between a survival action and a wrongful death claim is the position from which the action is pursued, which in turn determines who may file a suit and the damages that are available.
A survival action is brought by the decedent’s estate for the deceased could have pursued had they survived, essentially like a standard personal injury claim. Damages in a survival action are limited to:
- Lost wages and earnings potential
- Medical costs
- Pain and suffering.
By contrast, a wrongful death action focuses on the negative impact experienced by the decedent’s surviving family, so they’re entitled to additional damages under Florida Statute 768.21, which are the value of lost support and services from the date of death, reduced to the present value.
- The deceased’s probable income and financial contributions to each survivor
- The replacement value of the decedent’s services to each survivor
- The emotional support or companionship the deceased would have provided
- The costs of the funeral, burial, etc.
Our Experienced Attorneys Handle Wrongful Death Cases with Empathy and Understanding
While many law firms treat their clients like an item of inventory sitting on a shelf until they complete your case and can replace you with someone else, we don’t treat our clients like a passive income stream.
At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we put our clients at the forefront of our focus, and we treat you with the compassion and patience that you deserve.
Our experienced Florida wrongful death attorneys have successfully negotiated and tried numerous wrongful death cases, so we know how to best support you and advocate for you through every step of your case, including in each of the following steps of your lawsuit.
Investigation, Research, and Gathering Evidence
You can only collect compensation for damages that you can prove. Ensuring that your requests for damages are supported by evidence requires that thorough research be conducted through an intensive investigation.
Through this investigation we will determine who’s liable for the accident and the resulting death and which statutes or case law will support the facts of your case to obtain the monetary damages you deserve.
Discovery is a crucial step in all litigation to assist in the collection of evidence to support your claims and to discredit the other side’s defenses. Discovery is helpful prior to entering negotiations to ensure you aren’t blindsided.
As your attorney will discuss with you, the opposing party will be allowed to send you discovery to answer, just as you’ll send discovery to them. Discovery can begin after a lawsuit is filed and served and includes the following:
- Interrogatories: 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, videos, photos, or you may ask them to present items for inspection
- Requests for Admissions: These are written statements that you ask the defense to admit the truth of–they can be crucial to proving your case.
- Depositions: A deposition is taking oral testimony of the defense, witnesses, 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 that you request. 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 to prove that they acted with negligence and their negligence caused the death of your loved one.
Compensation in a wrongful death claim can be collected by filing a claim against the responsible party’s insurance company, but because the insurance company is looking out for their interests, their goal is to increase their profits, which may include reducing or trying to deny your claim altogether.
Insurance companies have teams of claims analysts and attorneys carefully scrutinizing your claim, but your West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer will fight for a fair settlement in negotiations and won’t back down from the reasonable compensation you’re entitled to.
Taking Your Case to Trial
If the insurance company won’t be fair and refuses to negotiate a proper settlement, trial is unavoidable. Although going to court might seem confusing and intimidating, your team at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath have decades of combined experience in wrongful death cases and will fight for you to the court and the jury to obtain the best result possible using the facts and circumstances of your case.
Don’t Run Out of Time–File Your Claim Now
Under Florida Statute 95.11(7)(d), the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is two years–this means that you must file your complaint within two years of your loved one’s death. If you don’t file within this time frame, you’ll forfeit your opportunity to recover any financial compensation for their death.
As with most things, there might be exceptions, but you don’t want to wait until the last minute to speak to an attorney.
Did you lose a loved one in an incident that wasn’t their fault? Our firm can help.
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’re facing following the death of a loved one. Working with a skilled West Palm Beach personal injury lawyer 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.