Wrongful Death Attorney in Stuart
The sudden death of someone close to you can be devastating. In an instant, their companionship, support, and guidance are gone, replaced with grief, anxiety, and an empty space that no amount of money could ever fill. But what about their financial contributions, medical expenses, and funeral costs? Our wrongful death attorneys in Stuart can help you pursue compensation for these and other damages.
Filing a successful wrongful death lawsuit can help you gain access to the funds you need to start picking up the pieces. It could also give you a sense of closure. If you lost a partner or family member due to a wrongful death, turn to the legal team at Donaldson & Weston. We’ve assisted hundreds of clients in both personal injury and wrongful death cases. Call 772-266-5555 to schedule a free initial consultation with one of our attorneys.
Our Wrongful Death Attorneys in Stuart Can Help You Avoid Mistakes
Losing someone close to you can be a shock to the system. However, if you’re filing a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s important to stay focused. Any errors or oversights could harm your case, leading to disputes and other complications that could impact your financial award. Our attorneys can provide the guidance you need to protect your claim.
Below are a few examples of mistakes you should try to avoid:
- You Took Too Long to File Your Claim: Florida’s statute of limitations imposes strict deadlines for anyone looking to file a lawsuit for a wrongful death. Barring certain exceptions, you will have up to two years from the date of the deceased’s passing to bring your lawsuit. If you attempt to file outside of this timeframe, it’s likely that the judge will dismiss your case. Keep in mind that it takes time to build a convincing case and some evidence that could help you prove liability, causation, and damages may disappear or become difficult to obtain as time passes.
- You Spoke to the Insurance Company: If the insurance company and/or an opposing reaches out to you during negotiations or litigation, you should refer them to your attorney. Insurers might not have your best interests at heart and may be looking for any reason to reduce or deny your claim. Corresponding with the claims adjuster or providing a recorded statement could give them ammunition to challenge your case.
- You Accepted an Unfavorable Settlement: The purpose of a settlement in a wrongful death claim is to give you and your family the funds you need to cover your losses. This can include compensation for the deceased’s medical costs, funeral expenses, the deceased’s future earnings, and your own losses in terms of the companionship and care he or she provided in your relationship. Accepting a settlement that does not account for all recoverable damages may lead to financial turmoil in the future as these funds quickly run dry. Your attorney can conduct a thorough investigation to help determine which losses might be recoverable as part of your claim and estimate fair compensation for the damages you incurred.
When Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Like most states, Florida allows certain parties to take legal action following the wrongful death of a loved one. Typically, those who might be allowed to bring a claim include the deceased’s domestic partner, spouse, and children.
It should be noted that if the victim is not survived by any of the heirs listed above, the wrongful death claim may be bought by someone who is entitled to their property under the state’s law of intestate succession. These individuals can include siblings, parents, stepchildren, and other dependents.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Florida?
If you and your loved ones have possible grounds for a wrongful death suit, it is in your best interests to seek legal representation as soon as you can. While you have a generous timeframe in which to bring a claim, negotiations could take longer than you might expect.
As previously mentioned, Florida’s standard statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years. As such, you will have up to 24 months from the date of death to file a lawsuit. However, there are a few exceptions. For instance, if your wrongful death case involves medical malpractice, you may have a more lenient deadline for bringing the lawsuit.
How Much Is My Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
While a successful wrongful death lawsuit will not bring back your loved one, it may at least give you the compensation you need to get your life back on track after this tragic loss. As such, you may be wondering what your wrongful death claim is worth. A settlement in such cases can account for both economic and non-economic damages. Examples of the types of compensation commonly available to claimants include:
- Loss of companionship, protection, and guidance formerly provided by the deceased;
- Emotional and mental pain and suffering due to the loss of a loved one;
- The cost of support and services the deceased had provided their surviving heir(s) before their passing;
- Medical and funeral expenses paid by the deceased’s estate or by a surviving family member on behalf of the deceased; and
- Lost prospective net accumulations of the deceased’s estate (i.e. the value of any income he or she would reasonably have collected if they had survived).
The potential value of a settlement in a wrongful death case will depend on the extent of these damages. However, there are many other factors that could impact the potential recovery, such as:
- The Deceased’s Age Prior to Passing: If the victim was relatively young, it’s likely he or she had considerable potential, which may warrant a higher financial award than if the deceased was older or in poor health.
- The Deceased’s Household Contributions: Did the deceased provide childcare, oversee household tasks, or was he or she in charge of meal preparation? Filling the gaps left behind by a victim who made significant household contributions can cost a small fortune. For instance, you may need hire a live-in nanny to step into the deceased’s former role. These costs might be factored into the eventual settlement.
- The Deceased’s Projected Career Trajectory: Was the deceased about to retire? Or was he or she on track to climb the career ladder for the next 20 years? How much was the deceased expected to make during that time? If they were still working, the earnings and benefits that they would have provided your family might make up a large portion of the eventual settlement. Your attorney might consult with various industry experts, such as economists and financial advisors, to determine reasonable compensation for such losses.
- Whether the Deceased was Admitted to the Hospital: Unless the victim died immediately, it’s likely he or she received treatment prior to passing. As such, you or the victim may have accumulated significant medical bills. These expenses may be recoverable as part of your wrongful death claim.
Speak to a Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
Did you lose a partner or family member due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful act? Our Stuart wrongful death lawyers are here to help. At Donaldson & Weston, we have decades of collective experience handling these claims.
Our goal not only is to help you fight for a fair settlement but also to ensure that the proceedings—from the initial consultation to the final verdict—are as stress free as possible. To speak to a wrongful death attorney about your case, contact us today at 772-266-5555.