Royal Palm Beach Wrongful Death Attorneys

No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one. If the death was unanticipated, though, securing a settlement may lessen the burden that your family has to bear, especially if you relied on the deceased for financial support.

The first step for pursuing compensation for the damages your family has incurred is scheduling a consultation with a seasoned accident lawyer. If you want to file a wrongful death claim in Florida, you will find compassionate and strategic injury attorneys at Donaldson & Weston.

Our Royal Palm Beach wrongful death lawyers will help you gather evidence against all responsible parties to prove fault and damages. We will then negotiate with the opposing party on your behalf, and if a payout cannot be reached, we will not hesitate to take your case to court. Call 561-299-3999 to schedule a free case evaluation.

Damages Recoverable in Florida Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim can include compensation for any losses that certain members of the deceased’s family incurred as a result of the death. In the state of Florida, those who are entitled to the resulting payout include beneficiaries of the estate such as the deceased’s spouse, children, or parents.

The types of damages that will be included in the settlement depend on the nature of the relationship between the recipients and the deceased. For example, if parents decide to file a wrongful death claim after losing a minor child, they may be able to recover compensation for:

  • Mental anguish;

  • Emotional distress;

  • Funeral and burial expenses; and

  • Medical bills incurred prior to the death.

When someone files a wrongful death claim after losing his or her spouse, on the other hand, recoverable damages might include:

  • Loss of support and services;

  • Loss of net accumulations;

  • Lost income and benefits;

  • Loss of companionship and protection;

  • Mental anguish;

  • Emotional distress;

  • Funeral and burial expenses; and

  • Medical bills.

How to Calculate Non-Economic Damages

When calculating a wrongful death settlement, determining economic damages, such as funeral expenses and medical bills, can be fairly straightforward. Calculating non-economic damages, on the other hand, poses certain challenges because they are not verifiable with receipts or invoices.

Since every case is different, there is no set formula for determining the value of damages like mental anguish and loss of companionship. Instead, the court considers various factors to arrive at an amount that is fair, just, and reasonable for both parties. Such factors might include the nature of the bond between the recipient and the deceased, the age of the recipient, and his or her total life expectancy.

What Constitutes “Wrongful Death” in Florida?

A wrongful death is a death that results from negligence, a wrongful act, default, or breach of warranty or contract. There are limitless scenarios that could give rise to wrongful death claims; some of the most common include:

  • Motor-Vehicle Collisions: Auto accidents are a leading cause of wrongful death in the United States. The vast majority of collisions are caused by driver negligence. When a drunk, distracted, or otherwise careless driver causes a fatal crash, he or she may be held liable for all resulting damages. Under some circumstances, a party other than a driver involved in the wreck is liable for damages. For example, the government entity that’s responsible for maintaining the roads might be at least partially liable if negligent road maintenance was a contributing factor. An auto parts manufacturer might be liable if a defective part caused the crash. As you can see, determining liability after a wrongful death isn’t always straightforward, and it’s possible for multiple parties to share liability. Your Royal Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer can review the facts of your case and the relevant evidence to identify all potentially liable parties.

  • Bicycle Accidents: With little protection from impact, bicycle riders often suffer fatal injuries when they’re hit by motor vehicles. If your loved one died in a bicycle accident, it’s important that you speak with an attorney right away because it’s not uncommon for liability disputes to arise in these cases. Your lawyer can compile all available evidence—some of which may be time-sensitive—to prove liability.

  • Defective Product Injuries: When a product doesn’t work as intended, consumers can suffer devastating and sometimes fatal injuries. Certain products, such as airbags, sports equipment, and portable generators, are responsible for a disproportionately high percentage of defective product injuries, but just about any type of good can harm a consumer if it has a flawed design or a manufacturing defect. Any party involved in the creation or distribution of a product might be liable for damages, but in most product liability cases, the action is brought against the product manufacturer and/or designer.

  • Serious Falls: A fall from a significant height can be deadly, and certain vulnerable populations such as the elderly may suffer fatal injuries after even a minor fall. If a member of your family died after falling and you suspect another person’s negligence was to blame, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. For example, if the deceased slipped and fell on a commercial property, the business establishment might be liable.

  • Criminal Acts: Although most wrongful death claims are filed on the basis of negligence, family members may also have grounds for a claim if their loved one died due to intentional harm.

The list above is non-exhaustive. There are countless scenarios that could give rise to a wrongful death claim. If you’re not sure whether your case has merit or if you need help determining the best way to proceed, contact Donaldson & Weston. One of our Royal Palm Beach wrongful death attorneys can review your case in a free consultation.