Fatal Car Accident Lawyers in West Palm Beach, FL

Many of the highways around West Palm Beach contain large quantities of vehicles traveling at high speeds, including 18-wheelers, big rigs, or other heavy commercial trucks. Thus, people driving in or through the area may be involved in a serious motor vehicle collision or even a fatal accident. This tragic event may leave a victim’s family struggling both emotionally and financially for years to come. If your family has suffered the loss of a loved one in an automobile accident, the experienced West Palm Beach fatal car accident lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can help you understand the steps needed to pursue financial compensation from the person whose carelessness took your loved one’s life.

Under Florida law, those who are negligent may be held legally liable for damages resulting from their conduct. Most car accident lawsuits proceed against a motorist who failed to act in a reasonably prudent manner, but businesses and even governmental entities may also be liable for a wrongful death in some circumstances. For instance, if the motorist was on the job at the time of the collision, there is a chance that their employer may be held vicariously liable. This is especially true of commercial truck drivers, whose employers may also be held liable for their negligence in some situations.

Bringing a Wrongful Death Claim Based on a Fatal Car Accident

The basic components of a negligence case are duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. In personal injury cases, a plaintiff may seek payment for lost wages, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages caused by the accident. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the family or the estate of the deceased person may file a wrongful death lawsuit seeking to recover similar damages, such as the decedent’s medical, funeral, and burial expenses, lost net earnings to the estate, and loss of consortium. As in other civil litigation, the burden is on the plaintiff to prove the elements of their case, and this must be accomplished by a preponderance of the evidence. This standard of proof is less demanding than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard in criminal court and only requires that the plaintiff’s proof be more convincing than the evidence offered by the defendant.

The Florida statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is substantially shorter than the time period allowed for filing a personal injury claim after a non-fatal car accident. For this reason, it is very important for a family who has lost a loved one in a crash to consult a fatal car accident attorney in West Palm Beach early in its aftermath. The case must be properly investigated, which may take a considerable amount of time, and a great deal of paperwork must be drafted and filed in the proper court. Wrongful death cases often have the additional requirement of opening an estate for the victim, if an estate has not already been opened. A knowledgeable wrongful death attorney can guide a family through the process of identifying the particular claims and parties that should be included in the action.