Palm Beach Wrongful Death Attorneys
No one is prepared to handle the unexpected death of a loved one. The emotional pain and grief of such a tragedy can seem unbearable for surviving family members. When it appears that the negligent or wrongful conduct of another person or persons caused or contributed to their death, the pain and grief can be compounded by confusion and turmoil.
If you lost a loved one to what you believe was a preventable death, you are likely feeling a range of strong emotions, including grief, confusion and anger. Knowing who to turn to for help during this difficult time is very important. The compassionate, experienced Palm Beach wrongful death attorneys at Boyers Law Group understand this and want to help. We know that when you come to us after having lost a precious member of your family, you want far more than financial compensation; you want answers, accountability and justice.
We have been helping families throughout Florida who have lost loved ones due to negligence and other forms of lethal conduct achieve justice for more than twenty-five years. We have successfully litigated wrongful death cases due to medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, defective products, negligent security, tractor-trailer crashes, cruise line negligence and dangerous premises, among other causes of premature and preventable death.
Our trusted team of trial lawyers, paralegals and investigators examine every detail of each case and leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of justice for our bereaved clients. If you have lost a beloved family member due to another party’s negligence or wrongful conduct, please contact our experienced Palm Beach wrongful death attorneys for the compassionate understanding and expert legal help you need to obtain justice and the fair compensation you deserve.
What Types of Deaths Can Be Considered a Wrongful Death in Florida?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act (FWDA), Section 768.19, Florida Statutes, 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….”
In other words, when a death is caused (entirely or partially) by the negligent, intentional, or otherwise wrongful conduct of another party (or parties), it may be considered a “wrongful death” in the eyes of the law. We commonly use the phrases “personal injury accident” and “accidental death” when referring to how someone died; however, these deaths are often not truly accidental. On the contrary, it is often the case that an “accidental” death was, in truth, a preventable death.
Some common examples of circumstances that could result in a wrongful death include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Boating accidents
- Premises liability accidents
- Medical errors
- Defective products
- Swimming pool drownings
- Industrial and construction accidents
- Criminal (intentional) acts
What Must My Attorney Prove in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Most wrongful death lawsuits are based on the concept of negligence. To prove that another party’s negligence caused or contributed to the death of your loved one, your attorney must prove several elements, including:
- A duty of care was owed to the decedent. Often, the duty of care is well established by law. For example, a motorist operating a vehicle on a public roadway owes a duty of care to others sharing the roadway. The owner of a hotel, restaurant or retail store owes a duty of care to those who visit the premises, as does anyone involved in the “chain of distribution” of a product owe a duty of care to consumers who purchase or use the product. Doctors and others in the healthcare industry also owe a special standard of care to patients.
- The duty of care was breached. To recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, your attorney must prove that the defendant breached, or failed to uphold, that duty of care. A drunk driver, for instance, clearly breached his/her legal duty of care. Other obvious examples of breaches include hotel owners who allow known hazards to exist on their premises, a toy manufacturer that sent defective products into the marketplace or a surgeon who left a foreign object inside a patient during surgery. Not all wrongful death cases involve a clear-cut breach of the duty of care, but the experienced team of legal experts at Boyers Law Group know how to identify and find the evidence needed to demonstrate a breach in these cases.
- The breach caused or contributed to the death. Finally, your attorney must prove that the defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused or contributed to the death of your loved one. While this can be straightforward, such as when an impaired driver hits and kills a pedestrian, other situations are more complex. You need an experienced Palm Beach wrongful death attorney working on your case to show that the defendant’s negligence caused or contributed to the loss of your loved one.
What Damages Are Potentially Available in a Palm Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows only the decedent’s personal representative, typically the Executor of the estate, to file a wrongful death lawsuit; however, additional surviving family members may be entitled to recover damages from the lawsuit, depending on the facts of your case, including:
- The decedent’s spouse
- The decedent’s children
- The decedent’s parents
- Blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters who were partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services
Both the decedent’s estate and eligible survivors may be entitled to recover damages to compensate them for pain, suffering and losses, as follows:
- Damages that may be awarded to the estate. Compensation awarded to the estate is intended to represent damages to which the decedent would have been 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 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 directly by the estate.
- Damages that may be awarded to survivors. These damages are intended to compensate eligible survivors for both the financial impact and emotional trauma they suffered because of the wrongful death. The type of damages available to a survivor will depend on the survivor’s relationship to the decedent but may include:
- The value of support and services the deceased person provided to the surviving family member.
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person.
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child, parent or spouse.
- Medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Palm Beach Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
It is important to consult with an experienced Palm Beach wrongful death attorney immediately if you suspect that a loved one’s death was preventable. Florida law limits the time you have to initiate a lawsuit to within two years of the death that was caused by the defendant’s negligence.
If the wrongful death occurred due to medical malpractice, you have two years from the date you knew or should have known about the negligent or wrongful conduct that caused the death. However, the maximum time that can elapse between the negligent or wrongful conduct and your initiating a wrongful death claim for medical malpractice is four years.
For Expert Legal Help and Personal Attention, Contact the Experienced Palm Beach Wrongful Death Attorneys at Boyers Law Group
If you lost a loved one and you believe that another party (or parties) caused or could have prevented the death, the Palm Beach wrongful death attorneys at Boyers Law Group can help. We have extensive experience successfully litigating wrongful death and personal injury cases and have helped our clients throughout Florida recover millions of dollars.
We understand what you are going through and assure you that our trusted team of lawyers, investigators, paralegals and experts is committed to providing you with compassionate personal attention. We will explain the legal process to you and keep you updated on all progress on your case. Moreover, we will always be glad to answer any questions you may have and respond promptly to your concerns.
Of utmost importance is our commitment to passionately pursuing justice. We will investigate all details and make sure we know all the facts of your case so we can hold the at-fault party or parties accountable for the wrongful death of your loved one and achieve the full and just compensation to which you are entitled for your suffering and losses.
Please call us at 305-512-7600 or submit the “Tell Us What Happened” form on our website as soon as possible so we can get started working on your wrongful death case.