Personal Attention for Wrongful Death Claims
More than 20 years of experience serving clients throughout Florida
A wrongful death is typically the result of another entity’s willful or negligent actions. It may happen as the result of medical malpractice, a car accident, occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or many other reasons. For these sensitive issues, you need a serious litigation firm that knows the law regarding wrongful death in Florida. At Loughren & Doyle, P.A., our West Palm Beach attorneys have years of experience with these types of cases, and we deliver the personal service you need during a difficult time for your family or business. We are also bilingual for the Spanish-speaking individuals and families of our State.
Exploring a wrongful death lawsuit
When a wrongful death occurs, the surviving family members may choose to file a lawsuit seeking compensation for damages such as lost wages, funeral expenses and emotional harm. Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, those who can sue for wrongful death are defined as the decedent’s survivors and limited to immediate family members (spouses, children and parents), life partners, financial dependents and distant relatives.
Wrongful death claims can be brought against any person, company or agency that is believed to be responsible for the decedent’s death, like the driver at fault for an auto accident, for example. However, in certain cases, government agencies and employees may be granted immunity from a wrongful death lawsuit. Immunity laws vary, and should be investigated with the help of an injury attorney.
For the lawsuit to be successful, the survivors must be able to prove that their loved one’s death was caused by negligence, recklessness or a deliberate act. If a wrongful death lawsuit is successful, there are generally three types of damages that may be awarded:
- Economic damages. These damages cover things like medical and funeral expenses, loss of the decedent’s expected earnings, loss of benefits and other goods and services.
- Noneconomic damages. These types of damages can be more difficult to prove, but generally cover things like mental anguish and loss of companionship.
- Punitive damages. These forms of damages exist specifically to punish responsible parties for their conduct.
Must a lawsuit be filed?
It is not required that a decedent’s survivors file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, keep in mind that in most circumstances a two-year statute of limitations is enforced for filing wrongful death lawsuits in Florida. If you choose not to file and change your mind at a later date, it may be too late and the claim will be barred forever. In addition, choosing to forgo a wrongful death lawsuit can have significant effects on estate planning for survivors.