West Palm Beach Wrongful Death Lawyer
Coping with the loss of a family member or loved one is always a challenging ordeal. Coming to terms with the loss of a loved one is even more difficult when you suspect that their passing could have been avoided. If the death of your loved one was the result of the wrongful or negligent actions of another party, you may have the option to hold that party legally accountable and pursue compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Florida law allows surviving loved ones to pursue justice when the death of a loved one could have been prevented. At Demand the Limits, we understand that no amount of financial compensation is worth the loss of a loved one; however, we also understand your desire and your right to hold accountable anyone whose wrongful or negligent conduct contributed to your loss.
You need an experienced, compassionate, and dedicated West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer to help you navigate the complex legal system that can lead to justice for your deceased loved one. At Demand the Limits, we are committed to working tirelessly to secure accountability and compensation for surviving loved ones when a death was preventable. Let a West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer at Demand the Limits fight for you, your lost loved one, and your family by calling (561) 220-6723 to schedule a free consultation.
What Makes a Death a Wrongful Death in Florida?
When a death occurs suddenly and without warning, family and friends often feel that the death was wrong. Loved ones are unable or unwilling to accept that the death was an accident and immediately start looking for someone or something to blame. While it is true that sometimes an untimely death was really the result of circumstances beyond anyone’s control, it is equally likely that the wrongful or negligent conduct of another party (or several parties) caused or contributed to the death. The law recognizes the distinction, providing a pathway for surviving loved ones to hold a party legally liable if a death was a “wrongful” death.
In the State of Florida, the Florida Wrongful Death Act (FWDA) defines a wrongful death as “…the death of a person that is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person, including those occurring on navigable waters, and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued…”
How Does a West Palm Beach Wrongful Death Lawyer Prove that a Death Was “Wrongful?”
The law essentially says that a death is a “wrongful” death if the wrongful or negligent conduct of another party leads to the death. To understand what a West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer needs to prove to successfully litigate a Florida wrongful death case, it helps to understand some tort law basics. Torts is the area of the law that can legally hold one party accountable for injuries to the person or property of another party. Liability can be based on:
- Strict liability. Strict liability focuses solely on the harm to the victim and the defendant’s relationship to the victim. For example, if a defective product causes death, anyone involved in the “chain of distribution” of that product could be held liable in a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Intentional conduct. A party can be held legally liable for the death of another if their intentionally wrong or harmful conduct contributed to the death. Assault is the most common example of intentional conduct that can form the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Negligence. The majority of wrongful death lawsuits are based on negligence which requires the injured party to prove that the defendant breached a duty of care owed to the decedent and that breach caused or contributed to the decedent’s death.
What Are Common Examples of a Wrongful Death?
A virtually limitless number of circumstances can produce a wrongful death; however, there are some common examples, such as:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents.
- Slip, trip, and fall accidents.
- Medical errors/medical malpractice.
- Defective products.
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents.
- Assault that causes fatal injuries.
- Industrial and construction accidents.
- Boating and aviation accidents.
- Amusement and theme park accidents.
- Premises liability accidents.
- Swimming pool accidents and drownings.
Am I Entitled to Pursue a Wrongful Death Case?
The way Florida law works, a decedent’s personal representative, typically the Executor of the estate, is the only person who is allowed to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. That does not mean, however, that surviving loved ones are not entitled to participate in a wrongful death lawsuit. In fact, surviving family members and loved ones may be entitled to recover damages from a wrongful death lawsuit if they fall into one of the following categories:
- The decedent’s spouse.
- The decedent’s children.
- The decedent’s parents.
- When partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters.
- Children born out of wedlock of a mother, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support.
What Compensation Is Available in a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The FWDA governs who may recover damages (compensation) in a wrongful death lawsuit and what type of compensation is available. Both the estate and eligible survivors may be entitled to compensation as follows:
- The estate. Compensation awarded to the estate is intended to represent damages to which the decedent is entitled for injuries that occurred prior to his/her death and/or are related directly to the decedent’s death. These damages are paid directly to the estate and then distributed to the beneficiaries and/or legal heirs (who may also be “survivors”) of the estate and may include:
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, from the time of injury to the time of death.
- Lost “prospective net accumulations” of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the decedent had lived.
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by the estate directly.
- Survivors. Intended to compensate eligible survivors for both the financial impact and emotional trauma suffered by the survivors because of the wrongful death, the type of compensation available will depend on the survivor’s relationship to the decedent but may include things such as:
- Loss of support and services.
- Loss of companionship and protection
- Mental pain and suffering
Get Help from an Experienced West Palm Beach Wrongful Death Lawyer
If you are the surviving family member or loved one of someone whose death you believe was preventable, you may be entitled to pursue a West Palm Beach wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer can help you pursue justice, hold the at-fault party accountable, and secure compensation for your loss by:
- Investigating your loved one’s death.
- Analyzing the circumstances of the death to determine if it was preventable.
- Compiling evidence to prove that the death was preventable.
- Filing the documents necessary to preserve your right to pursue a wrongful death claim.
- Negotiating a favorable settlement.
- Litigating your wrongful death lawsuit in court.
At Demand the Limits, our experienced West Palm Beach wrongful death lawyers have extensive experience with wrongful death cases. We fight hard to defend the legal rights of all West Palm Beach survivors and victims. Call (561) 600-3555 or contact us online to schedule your free case evaluation. Don’t delay – the sooner you have an attorney fighting for you, the better protected your legal rights will be.