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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 emotional loss.

west palm beach wrongful death attorney

The West Palm Beach personal injury 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 on your wrongful death claim. Call us at (561) 655-1990 or use our online contact form to schedule your free consultation.

When can you 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 claim if the following acts caused the, whether they occurred on land or navigable waters:

  • Negligence 
  • 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:

  • Spouse
  • Children 
  • Parents 
  • Any blood relatives and adoptive siblings who are partly or wholly dependent on the deceased for services and support.

What are the 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 available damages. 

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. These damages are the value of lost support and services from the date of death, reduced to the present value.

These include:

  • 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, our clients are at the forefront of our focus, and we treat them with the compassion and patience they deserve.

Our experienced West Palm Beach wrongful death attorneys have successfully negotiated and tried numerous wrongful death cases, so we know how to support you best 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. It assists in collecting evidence to support your claims and discredit the other side’s defenses. Discovery is helpful prior to entering negotiations to ensure you aren’t blindsided.

As your West Palm Beach wrongful death attorney discusses with you, the opposing party will be allowed to send you the discovery to answer, just as you’ll send the discovery to them. Discovery can begin after a lawsuit is filed and served and includes the following:


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, and 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.


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 can be sent to non-parties so they can produce documents or other items that you request. For 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 maintain the vehicle correctly.


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 that their negligence caused the death of your loved one.

Insurance negotiations

Compensation in a wrongful death claim can be collected by filing a claim against the responsible party’s insurance company. Because the insurance company is looking out for its interests, its goal is to increase its 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 wrongful death attorney will fight for a fair settlement in negotiations and won’t back down from the reasonable compensation you’re entitled to. 

west palm beach wrongful death lawyer meeting

Taking your case to trial

If the insurance company isn’t fair and refuses to negotiate a proper settlement, the trial is unavoidable. Although going to court might seem confusing and intimidating, your team at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath has decades of combined experience in wrongful death cases and will fight for you in court and before the jury to obtain the best result possible using the facts and circumstances of your case. 

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.

There might be exceptions, but you should not wait until the last minute to speak to an attorney. 

Let our West Palm Beach wrongful death attorney help.

It can be challenging 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. 

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