Did you lose a loved one as a result of an accident in Boca Raton, FL? Our experienced Boca Raton wrongful death lawyers at Shiner Law Group are ready to help fight for your legal rights and get the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (561) 368-3363 to speak with an attorney for a 100% free consultation.
You may be entitled to seek compensation for medical bills, loss of income, pain, and suffering, and more. Contact our Boca Raton, FL law offices to discuss the legal options that might be available to you following your loved one’s wrongful death. The next steps are very important. Let Shiner Law Group help you with your wrongful death case today.
Did You Lose A Loved One To Wrongful Death in Boca Raton?
A Boca Raton wrongful death attorney can help if you have lost a loved one suddenly due to the negligence or improper actions of another. When the life of a loved one is taken from you prematurely, the emotional and financial hardships can be devastating. Surviving family members often find it difficult to focus on navigating around insurance company traps and complying with legal procedures and deadlines.
The process of pursuing a wrongful death claim to replace household income might be essential to maintaining a family’s standard of living. While surviving loved ones might be inclined to procrastinate in pursuing a legal claim, the civil litigation process is subject to complex procedural requirements and strict timing requirements. Our Boca Raton wrongful death attorneys protect the interests of our clients while taking on insurance companies seeking to deny damage claims or minimize any recovery.
Wrongful Death Cases in Boca Raton
There are many incidents where negligent or intentional actions lead to wrongful death. Examples include road traffic crashes, workplace accidents, defective product use, medical malpractice, and more.
Section 768.19 of Florida Statutes defines wrongful death as the loss of life due to a person’s or entity’s wrongful act, negligence, breach of contract, or default. Your lawyer can clarify whether your loved one’s demise was a wrongful death and help you seek legal redress.
Elements in a Wrongful Death Suit in Boca Raton
There are many types of negligent and intentional conduct that can cause fatal injuries. Our Boca Raton personal injury lawyers have been representing accidental death victims and their surviving family members for fifteen (15) years. We have the legal acumen and experience to handle wrongful death claims arising from incidents involving fatigued truckers, drunk drivers, negligent medical providers, or others who fail to exercise reasonable care to avoid causing fatal injuries to another person.
Filing A Boca Raton Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, there are two categories of plaintiffs that can commence a wrongful death lawsuit. These two classes of claimants represent different types of claims. The estate has a claim for the damages suffered by the decedent, a personal representative of the estate on behalf of the beneficiaries of the estate. The types of damages that can be recovered by the estate include:
- Decedent’s lost earnings
- Loss of net accumulations
- Medical bills
- Funeral and burial expenses
The damages of the estate represent what will be passed to a family member through a will, trust, or the law of intestate succession if the decedent has no estate planning instrument. Damages recoverable for the estate essentially compensate the deceased’s beneficiaries for losses to the decedent’s estate, including the economic damages the plaintiff could have recovered in a personal injury lawsuit (had the decedent survived) plus memorial and burial expenses.
Survivors of Wrongful Death Victims in Boca Raton
The second category of plaintiffs who can recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in Boca Raton referred to as “survivors.” Damages that are available to survivors tend to constitute the most substantial amount of the recovery in a wrongful death lawsuit. Survivors who might be entitled to bring a claim for damages include the following:
- Spouse of the decedent
- Children of the decedent (children under the age of 25 are entitled to a larger amount)
- The parents of the decedent
- Blood relatives which include adoptive sisters and brothers at least partially financially dependent on the decedent
While a plaintiff can be entitled to recover both as a beneficiary of the estate and a survivor, the types and amount of compensation available to survivors are usually much more significant than damages recoverable by the decedent’s estate. Survivor benefits essentially compensate the designated family members for their personal losses suffered because of the death of a loved one. The categories of damages that might be sought by survivors include:
- Mental pain and suffering
- Lost protection and support
- Lost services and support
- Child’s loss of guidance, instruction, and companionship
- Medical bills, funeral costs, and burial expenses (if paid by a survivor)
Seeking Damages For a Boca Raton Wrongful Death
One of the most sensitive areas where our Boca Raton wrongful death attorneys can help is claim evaluation. The lawyer estimates the compensation to pursue based on the death’s impact on the surviving family members and dependents.
You can recover economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death case suffered by the deceased and the next of kin. These include:
- Medical expenses
- Lost wages and benefits to the deceased the dependents
- Lost net accumulations the estate could have collected
- Physical and mental pain and suffering by the deceased
- Mental and emotional distress by the deceased’s family
- Loss of consortium, guidance, and protection from the deceased
- Funeral and burial expenses paid by the family or estate
We cannot replace your parents, spouse, child, or sibling. However, we can help you ease the financial burden that accompanies the grief that results from losing someone. Medical bills and funeral expenses, for example, can strain your family economically.
You can also recover the monetary value the deceased would have brought were it not for the untimely death. That includes the income the person would have made until the expected retirement time. Your Boca Raton wrongful death lawyers can fight for an amount that enables your family to maintain its living standard.
Process of Dealing With A Boca Raton Wrongful Death Attorney
At the Shiner Law Group, we recognize the untimely death of a cherished loved is the ultimate tragedy that a family can face. When a fatality occurs because of the negligent or intentional conduct of others, the death is always untimely regardless of the age of the individual who passes away. While our Boca Raton wrongful death lawyers cannot give you back the love of a spouse, parent, child, or sibling, we can help families overcome the financial burdens that accompany the extreme grief of a lost loved one. We have compassion for families because we know the last task you ever wanted to undertake was to retain a wrongful death lawyer. Although we cannot give you back your family member, we can pursue justice for your loved one, assist you in reclaiming your financial security, and prevent the wrongdoer from harming others in the future. Our law firm balances the scales of justice for surviving family members in the following ways:
Investigating the Claim: Whether the death of your loved one is the result of a tractor-trailer accident, nursing home neglect, defective product, or medical malpractice, our law firm conducts a thorough investigation of the facts involving our client’s wrongful death claim. Our attorneys investigate claims based on experience garnered representing wrongful death victims during our fifteen (15) years helping families who have had loved ones taken from them.
Dealing with Insurance Companies: Whether you’re injured in an auto collision, semi-truck accident, motorcycle accident, dog bite, or many other types of incidents, the responsible parties’ insurance companies will usually defend the lawsuit. Insurance companies use an array of strategies to undermine legitimate claims. Since a family that loses a breadwinner might face dire cashflow hardships, the insurance company knows that delaying the resolution of the claim can create financial pressure for plaintiffs to settle for less than the actual value of their claim. Alternatively, the insurance company might attempt to obtain information from plaintiffs in a wrongful death lawsuit that will provide a defense to liability or reduce the potential recovery. Our law firm conducts all negotiations while handling litigation of the claim, so we shield our clients from insurance company practices and sharp tactics that might compromise a legitimate claim.
Using a Network of Experts: Expert testimony often plays a crucial role in the outcome of wrongful death litigation. For example, a security expert might testify about past crime patterns and offer a professional opinion about the level and type of security that would be appropriate given past crime patterns. If the decedent was the victim of medical negligence, our law firm will have to work with a medical expert to establish the appropriate standard of care and provide an expert opinion about how the medical professional deviated from appropriate medical protocols. Our law firm has handled hundreds of cases involving accidents and intentional injuries, so we have established relationships with highly regarded experts in many areas of knowledge.
Engaging in Effective Client Communication: The number one complaint clients have about attorneys involves a lack of communication regarding their cases. Our Boca Raton wrongful death attorneys recognize the importance of keeping our clients updated regarding significant developments in their case, as well as returning telephone calls and emails promptly. Our law firm has a standard practice of responding to client communications the same business day or the next business day where reasonably feasible. We understand that the families of injury victims are dealing with intense grief and loss, and prompt communications can reduce the stress and anxiety associated with our clients’ financial hardships.
Estimating the Value of a Claim: The process of valuing wrongful death claims involves analyzing subjective factors, such as mental pain and suffering, as well as the loss of companionship, instruction, and guidance of a parent. Our law firm handles hundreds of personal injury and wrongful death claims, so we can draw on prior cases and research jury verdicts and settlements in reasonably comparable cases. When calculating more sophisticated elements of economic damages like future lost income reduced to present value, we might enlist the services of an economic expert who has proven effective in the past.
Determining the Appropriate Defendants: While the party to name as a defendant might be obvious if rear-ended at a stoplight by another vehicle, the issue of selecting the proper defendants is more complicated in many lawsuits. Alternatively, a distracted driver or another negligent party might be uninsured or underinsured, which makes it important to evaluate the liability of other parties. Third parties that might also share liability for wrongful death arising out of a motor vehicle collision might include vehicle and component manufacturers, vehicle owners, driver’s employers, and even the victim’s uninsured motorist/underinsured motorist (UM/UIM) carrier. Our accident attorneys analyze crashes carefully to identify all potential defendants while using the discovery process to uncover all potential sources of insurance coverage to pay a settlement or judgment.
When to Seek a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Boca Raton
The categories of wrongful death claims, as well as the individual scenarios that can result in premature death, are numerous. If you are the surviving family member or beneficiary of the estate of a decedent, you need to be aware that you can gain an advantage by hiring a law firm with a proven track record in wrongful death claims. West Palm Beach wrongful death attorneys must have a thorough knowledge of the Florida wrongful death statute. They also must be thoroughly familiar with the law governing the underlying incident causing injury whether traffic accident laws, premises liability, medical malpractice, product liability or another area of law. Some of the more common types of wrongful death lawsuits we handle include:
- Auto accidents
- Airplane crashes (aviation accidents)
- Construction accidents
- Firearms shootings
- Workplace injuries
- Semi-truck collisions
- Dog attacks
- Defective products (e.g. bad drugs)
- Theme park accidents
- Motorcycle crashes
- Alcohol and drug impaired driving accidents
- Accidents involving boats, personal watercrafts (PWCs), and cruise ships
- Train and bus accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Injuries on property with hazardous conditions or negligent security
Process of Filing a Boca Raton Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Much of the process involved in a wrongful death lawsuit happens outside the courtroom. Both sides of a wrongful death lawsuit file extensive written argument-based submitted before any trial. These documents must be meticulously researched and skillfully drafted regarding many critical issues. The effectiveness of these documents can determine whether your lawsuit is dismissed or significantly weakened. Because most cases are resolved through a negotiated settlement before trial, a family member in wrongful death cases benefits from understanding the pre-trial process in wrongful death civil lawsuits.
The wrongful death claims process tends to be a long and somewhat daunting ordeal. Although the lawsuit might settle in a year or two, the process can take longer during which your wrongful death lawyer must draft important documents, identify and interview witnesses, and gather and analyze evidence.
Stage 1 Pre-Trial Investigation and Research: When you first retain our law firm, our attorneys initiate an investigation of the facts. This process might include interviewing family members or others who knew the decedent regarding information related to liability and damages. Our legal team frequently works with experts like physicians as a required precursor to filing a medical malpractice lawsuit or an accident reconstructionist to analyze fatal traffic accident cases. If the defendant(s) have insurance coverage, our attorneys will inform the insurance carrier that we represent the estate and survivors and obtain a copy of the policy. Because no two policies are the same, we also carefully review and study the terms of the policies we obtain to analyze coverage issues.
Stage 2 Conducting Legal Research: The question of coverage under a policy can turn on the way prior court decisions have interpreted a single word, phrase, or clause. In some cases, courts may be split on their interpretation making it essential to conduct extensive legal research and detailed analysis. A review of an extensive body of case law might be required at various times throughout the litigation process regarding legal issues that impact the outcome of your case. While Florida has a wrongful death statute, this is only the starting place for legal research regarding the relevant law. Judges decide many cases that interpret statutes and affect the meaning and application of the provision. These opinions can be seen in lengthy volumes of books. The process of analyzing these cases entails extensive legal training and experience. Many of these decisions can be up to fifty pages. While the average plaintiff in a wrongful death case might not realize the enormous amount of legal research involved in the successful litigation of a wrongful death claim, our law firm frequently prevails because we excel at conducting legal research and building compelling factual and legal arguments.
Stage 3 Pre-Lawsuit Negotiations with Insurance Companies: After our lawyers have confirmed that you have a reasonably viable lawsuit, we assemble a demand package for the insurance carrier(s) to determine coverage. This damage packet commences the negotiation process with the insurance company. This process sometimes leads to an early settlement if liability in the case is relatively clear, such as when a vehicle runs a red light and T-bones another driver with a green light who obeys the speed limit.
Stage 4 Commencement of Wrongful Death Lawsuit: If the case is not settled in the pre-suit phase, our law firm will file a “complaint” with the court that officially commences your lawsuit. The lawsuit should be filed before the statute of limitations runs (expires). Complaints need to be filed within the statute of limitations, the case usually will be barred completely regardless of the merits of the claim. The statute of limitations is strict and unforgiving deadlines. While the wrongful death statute of limitations is two (2) years from the date of death in Florida, legal advice should be obtained promptly. Determining the statute of limitations can be complicated because of exclusions, exceptions, and limits. Once the complaint’s filed, the defendant will have a specified period to file an “answer” or a “motion to dismiss.”
Stage 5 Discovery Process: While television shows often depict the courtroom as a place where the parties suddenly unveil “gotcha” evidence, both sides usually are aware of the lion’s share of evidence and witnesses that will testify long before the trial. This discovery process allows each side to narrow the issues and obtain relevant information from the other side. Our law firm effectively uses the discovery process because it can have a dramatic impact on the outcome of a wrongful death claim. Some of the discovery tools we use include:
- Requests for Admission: This form of discovery involves written requests that the opposing party admit or deny certain facts. Use of this discovery device can reduce litigation costs by narrowing the factual and legal issues.
- Interrogatories: When using this form of discovery, you ask written questions to obtain relevant information, as well as to learn about the legal contentions of the opposing parties.
- Depositions: This process involves asking questions of the opposing party or other witnesses under oath in the presence of a court reporter.
- Requests for Production of Documents: Our lawyers use this discovery device to obtain documents relevant to the claim, such as insurance policies, documents involving safety violations, maintenance records, and more.
How A Boca Raton Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
The discovery process will often involve many objections to requests and questions that might require the filing of motions to compel to obtain an appropriate response. These motions can carry a vast array of sanctions depending on the nature of the discovery violations.
Handling Motions for Summary Judgment: Defendants in many wrongful death lawsuits will file a “motion for summary judgment”. These motions request that the court make a decisive determination on a particular issue or even the entire case. The legal and factual issues along with the legal grounds and standard for granting summary judgment are extremely complicated, so extensive legal training and experience are required to successfully prevail in litigating a motion for summary judgment.
Trial Preparation: If the lawsuit withstands summary judgment, the settlement value of the case increases because of the unpredictable outcome of the case when left to a jury. The parties will both engage in extensive trial preparation, involving both exhaustive legal and factual research. As the trial date approaches, the parties typically will file “motions in limine.” These motions address the issue of whether certain evidence should be admissible at trial.
While we have attempted to answer many questions about wrongful death lawsuits, there is an expansive scope of complicating factors beyond the scope of this discussion. For example, there are special requirements regarding who can obtain compensation in a wrongful death action. Complex family relationships like adopted children, stepchildren, divorced parents, remarriage, illegitimate children, intent to divorce, and common law marriages are just a sample of the many issues that can affect the intricacy of obtaining a successful outcome in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Working with Boca Raton Wrongful Death Attorneys
Many fatal injuries in South Florida result from intentional and negligent wrongful acts by third parties. For more than 15 years, our Boca Raton personal injury lawyers have helped the victims and their families get justice. We pursue the rights of your loved one, help you reclaim your financial security, and stop wrongdoers from hurting others in the future.
Here’s how wrongful death lawyers at Shiner Law Group work with you when someone costs your loved one their life.
Investigating the Claim
No matter the cause of your loved one’s death, we conduct a thorough investigation to establish the facts surrounding the death claim. Our lawyers have garnered immense experience over the 15 years the firm has served the South Florida community.
Determining the Right Defendants
Pinpointing the person to pay for injuries or wrongful death is sometimes confusing. For instance, a car crash can happen due to a distracted driver, a poorly maintained vehicle, a faulty component, etc.
Should you seek compensation from the driver, motor vehicle owner, automaker, or the victim’s insurance company? What if the at-fault is uninsured or underinsured. Our Boca Raton wrongful death lawyers can help uncover all the possible sources of coverage and determine the best defendant for your case.
Estimating the Value of a Claim
Valuing wrongful death claims can be convoluted because some of the damages are hard to quantify. For instance, how much monetary value can you append to mental pain and suffering or loss of companionship and guidance of a parent? Many people don’t even know that they can recover such damages.
We research jury verdicts and settlements from comparable prior cases to make reasonable estimates. We also liaise with economic experts in calculating more sophisticated financial aspects of wrongful death like lost future income.
Dealing with Insurance Companies
Insurance companies often do everything possible to disqualify claims or minimize the amount of compensation. For instance, they can delay the process when you lose your breadwinner to worsen your financial situation, hoping you’ll settle for less.
Alternatively, their lawyers can try to obtain information from you and use it to defend themselves from liability. Our attorneys know these gimmicks, so they neutralize any efforts to discredit legitimate claims.
Leveraging a Network of Experts
Testimonies from experts are integral in shaping the outcome of any case. For instance, in a wrongful death due to medical negligence, a medical officer can elaborate on the appropriate standard of care and explain where the accused failed. We utilize the network of specialists that we’ve developed over our extensive history of cases involving accidents and death.
Maintaining Proper Paperwork
Filing a wrongful death involves a lot of legal formalities. You must prepare various documents and submit them within a specified time.
These papers must be in the proper format and within the deadline, or the court can dismiss your case. A wrongful death attorney can save the day.
Constant Client Communication
One of the leading complaints about attorneys is failing to update clients about their cases. Shiner Law Group is different. Our wrongful death lawyers keep you on top of every development in your case and promptly return your calls and emails.
We believe that prompt communication can alleviate your grief and emotional torture. For this reason, we respond to your requests within hours or on the next business day.
Boca Raton Wrongful Death Lawsuits
You must substantiate several legal aspects before the court if you resolve to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you’re in South Florida, our Boca Raton wrongful death can help you prove the following:
Duty of care
Proving negligence in a wrongful death incident requires showing that the accused owed the deceased a duty of care. For instance, a driver owes other road users a responsibility to drive carefully and prudently under the law. That means the driver should operate the automobile like a reasonable driver would do under similar circumstances.
Breach of the Applicable Duty of Care
You should also demonstrate how the defendant infringed the standard of care the deceased deserved. For example, a motorist causing a fatal collision after driving on the wrong side of the road breaches their duty of care.
Proof of Cause
Another element you must prove is that the defendant’s negligence caused the deceased person’s death. In other words, you have to show that the person would not have died if the accused wasn’t negligent.
Proof of Damages
You must prove all the damages you are looking to recover, which requires lay and expert witness testimonies. That’s why you need an experienced firm like Shiner Law Group to take advantage of their network of experts throughout Florida.
Choosing a Boca Raton Wrongful Death Lawyer
Scenarios that can result in your loved one’s premature death are unlimited. If you would like to pursue justice for your loved one’s wrongful death, hire a proficient lawyer from your area.
Our Boca Raton wrongful death lawyers have a proven track record in ensuring that personal injury and wrongful death complainants in South Florida get compensation. The main reason to hire locally is to find an attorney who thoroughly understands the statute governing your case.
Our team is familiar with the Florida wrongful death statute and the laws governing accidents, malpractice, and product liability.
Speak with a Boca Raton Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If you or someone you love has died because of the negligent, reckless, or intentional conduct of another, we welcome you to contact our experienced legal team so that we can evaluate your claim and advise you of your rights and options. We are committed to helping victims recover the compensation they need to move past injuries or loss, so call us 24/7 at 561-368-6878 or online for a free case review to see how we can help.
Contact a Boca Raton Wrongful Death Attorney at Shiner Law Group
After losing a loved one in a Boca Raton wrongful death case, you need time to heal, not worrying about taking legal action all on your own. Instead of worrying about deadlines and processes for bringing a wrongful death action and dealing with insurance companies, you can hire a Boca Raton wrongful death lawyer. If you lost a loved one because of another’s wrongdoing, contact Shriner Law Group for your free case evaluation.
Boca Raton Wrongful Death FAQ’S
An untimely and wrongful death can, unfortunately, happen in many everyday scenarios in Boca Raton. Take driving, as an example. Boca Raton sees people who do not know the roads all year long. From students at Florida Atlantic University to the tourists who visit the area, especially during spring break and during the summer, many more people are on the road with their friends and family.
Of those students and tourists—both who love the nightlife—many don’t know Boca Raton’s roads and traffic. Mix that with irresponsible drinking and driving and severe weather, such as heavy rains, and accidents resulting in severe injuries or even wrongful death are bound to occur.
While car accidents cause significant numbers of wrongful deaths, so can dog bite cases, product liability cases, medical malpractice, slip or trip and fall accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, and even criminal actions. Whatever the case may be, if your loved one died due to someone else’s wrongful actions, you could recover compensation by bringing a wrongful death lawsuit.
When you are ready to discuss the details of your case with someone who can help you recover compensation for the injuries and impacts you have suffered, contact Shiner Law Group for a free case consultation. In the meantime, read on for answers to some frequently asked questions about Boca Raton’s wrongful death cases.
What Is Considered a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death, according to Florida laws, refers to a case where a person dies due to the action or inaction of another. Wrongful death claims are brought against a group or person whose negligent or intentional action resulted in the death of a victim.
The surviving family members of the victim can file a wrongful death case against the guilty party. The lawsuit allows the grieving family members to obtain compensation for the financial and emotional distress due to the death of a deceased person.
What Can I Do After a Wrongful Death in Boca Raton?
The surviving family members must first determine whether filing a wrongful death claim is possible. Only certain family members are allowed to file a wrongful death claim, and these include the spouse, children, and/or parents of the deceased individual. Dependent blood relatives and adopted siblings can also file a wrongful death case. A child born outside the wedlock is also allowed to file a claim against the at-fault party.
Afterwards, you need to gather evidence and collect documents to support the wrongful death claim. You need to prove that the death of a person has resulted in grave financial loss. You have to collect documents to show the medical expenses, burial costs, and loss of financial support due to the wrongful death of a family member.
When and Why Should I Contact a Boca Raton Wrongful Death Lawyer?
If your loved one has died, you should contact an experienced wrongful death attorney to file a claim. Fighting a wrongful death case without professional legal help is difficult. You have to meet a lot of legal formalities to file a case. Various documents have to be prepared and submitted within a specified time. Failure to submit the documents in a proper format or within the deadline can result in the dismissal of the case. This is where the services of a wrongful death attorney can prove invaluable.
How Can a Boca Raton Wrongful Death Lawyer Help?
A professional lawyer will gather evidence to prove the guilt of the party responsible for wrongful death. The lawyer will also calculate the compensation amount. With the help of a professional wrongful death attorney, you will be able to gather evidence and prove the guilt of the at-fault party. The attorney will make every effort to obtain the highest possible amount from the guilty party.
Where Can I Find a Boca Raton Wrongful Death Lawyer Near Me?
Make sure that you hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer with a proven track record of success. You can find a wrongful death lawyer by reading online reviews. Every state has different laws regarding wrongful death. That’s why you need to make sure that you hire a lawyer who is aware of wrongful death laws in your state.
What is a wrongful death action?
You can bring a wrongful death action in Boca Raton when you lose a loved one because of someone else’s wrongdoing. This could result from a car accident, truck accident, boating accident, nursing home abuse, medical malpractice, dog bite incident, or a product liability case.
If another person’s negligence or recklessness caused the death of your loved one, you could recover monetary damages by bringing a wrongful death claim. While the money does not bring your loved one back, it does pay your loved one’s medical expenses and help with other financial and other impacts you experience because of the death of your loved one.
Can I bring a wrongful death action in Boca Raton if my loved one died weeks or months after the accident?
Yes. If your loved one died because of injuries he or she suffered in an accident or incident, even if death wasn’t immediate, you can bring a wrongful death action in Boca Raton against whoever caused the fatal injuries to your loved one. This includes secondary injuries—i.e. conditions directly caused by the initial accident injuries.
What kind of injuries could cause a wrongful death?
Your loved one could have suffered any number of injuries that caused a wrongful death. Common injuries include traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord injuries, internal injuries, and infections. An infection is an example of a secondary injury that results in wrongful death. A deadly infection can enter a serious wound, especially if your loved one had underlying conditions that prevented it from healing.
Although this injury is secondary to the initial injury, the defendant would face liability for a secondary injury because your loved one would not have suffered through the secondary injury if not for the defendant’s wrongdoing.
Who pays for the hospital bills and other medical expenses my loved one incurred before he or she died?
If your loved one died because of injuries in an accident or incident, you could settle with the defendant’s insurance company or the defendant to cover the cost of medical expenses. If you do not think the settlement is fair and reasonable, you can bring a wrongful death action to recover a court award for damages, including medical expenses and pain and suffering. However, until you recover settlement money or damages, you must pay all medical expenses. Our lawyers can calculate any expenses you pay upfront into your settlement or damages amount.
What kind of damages can I recover in a Boca Raton wrongful death lawsuit?
You can typically recover compensatory damages in a Boca Raton wrongful death lawsuit. Compensatory damages include economic damages and non-economic damages. Economic damages have a set monetary value while non-economic damages do not. Economic damages include medical expenses, lost wages, and burial, funeral, and/or cremation expenses. Non-economic damages may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and inconvenience.
While money does not bring your loved one back, a court can order these types of damages to compensate for many of the financial and other impacts you have experienced because of losing your loved one.
Can I recover punitive damages in a Boca Raton wrongful death lawsuit?
Beyond compensatory damages, you might recover punitive damages in a Boca Raton wrongful death lawsuit. A court only punitive damages to punish, rather than compensate, a plaintiff for the expenses and impacts they have suffered. If you can prove the defendant’s actions or inactions were grossly negligent or intentional, you might recover punitive damages.
If you wish to ask the court for punitive damages, you must go through a second trial. If the court does not award compensatory damages, it will not award punitive damages. Because of this, the court hears the case on liability and compensatory damages first and later determines punitive damages.
Why do I need to have a second trial for punitive damages?
In Boca Raton, you must have a bifurcated trial for punitive damages because you cannot collect punitive damages unless the court awards you compensatory damages. This means the court will hold the trial in two parts. During the first part, the court hears evidence and testimony regarding the accident or incident to determine liability and compensatory damages.
If the judge or jury awards compensatory damages, the same judge and jury hear the evidence for punitive damages. You have to prove that the defendant’s actions or inactions that caused the wrongful death were grossly negligent or intentional.
Who can file a Boca Raton wrongful death lawsuit?
The personal representative of the decedent’s estate files the wrongful death claim on behalf of the family.
Who can recover damages in a Boca Raton wrongful death lawsuit?
The decedent’s estate—which typically includes family, such as a spouse, children, parents, and in some cases, other close relatives—can recover damages in a Boca Raton wrongful death lawsuit. Once the estate receives the money, the personal representative of the estate disburses the money according to the decedent’s will and trust or Florida law.
What are some of the common causes of wrongful death in Boca Raton?
Any accident could lead to wrongful death in Boca Raton. Some of the more common incidents include:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Boating accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Slip or trip and fall accidents
- Product liability accidents
- Nursing home abuse
- Dog bites/attacks
- Excessive speeding
- Driving under the influence
- Driving while distracted
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Burns over more than half of your body
- Criminal actions, such as arson, murder, and assault and battery
How long does it take to settle a Boca Raton wrongful death case?
How long it takes to settle a Boca Raton wrongful death case most often depends on the insurance company and how long it takes to respond to your demand letter and negotiate a settlement agreement. Attorneys give the insurance company a deadline in the initial demand letter. If the insurance company agrees, you could have your money within a couple of weeks of the agreement.
If the insurance company does not agree to the amount in your demand letter, it could submit a counteroffer or simply ignore the demand letter. If it makes a counter-offer, you will have a certain number of days to accept. If you do not accept, you may submit your counter-offer or move to litigation.
If more than one insurance company must respond to demand letters for the same incident, the process could take longer. Such is the case if more than one defendant is liable. This is common in accidents with commercial vehicles, product liability cases, and other cases where multiple parties contributed to the wrongful death.
How long does a Boca Raton wrongful death lawsuit take?
The duration of a Boca Raton wrongful death lawsuit is hard to predict. The lawsuit begins when you file a complaint with a Boca Raton civil court and serve the complaint on the defendants. Once a defendant receives your complaint, they generally have 20 days to file an answer, which is a response to the allegations in your complaint. However, the defendant may instead file a motion to dismiss on technical grounds, in which case that motion will need to be briefed and ruled upon before the defendant has to file an answer.
Once the court hears the motion to dismiss, it can grant the motion and dismiss the case, or deny the motion and proceed to the next stages of the litigation. If the court grants the motion, it may give you the chance to refile the complaint if you can fix the errors that warranted dismissal.
Once a case moves past pre-trial motions, the discovery process starts. This is the stage at which the parties gather evidence to support their case. The discovery process could take a while, depending on the case’s complexity.
Once discovery concludes and both parties have their evidence, the court schedules a trial.
How long do I have to file a Boca Raton wrongful death action?
You must file a Boca Raton wrongful death action within two years of the death. Although the statutes give you up to two years from the date of death, you should talk with an attorney and file your claim as soon as possible. Two years may sound like a lot, but time passes quickly. You must wait for the probate court to appoint a personal representative, and investigations and settlement negotiations take time. Once the two-year time lapses, if you have not filed a lawsuit, you cannot recover compensation.
Do I have to go to court for a Boca Raton wrongful death action?
Most often, parties in Boca Raton wrongful death cases settle. If the insurance company or defendant settles, you do not have to go to court. However, if you want to sue for punitive damages, you will most likely have to go to court. While a settlement agreement could factor in an amount to cover punitive damages to which the parties agree, this is mostly unheard of. Plaintiffs almost exclusively recover such damages in court.
Why should I retain a Boca Raton wrongful death lawyer?
Retaining a wrongful death attorney is a good idea for many reasons, not the least of which is to have someone else deal with the stress of trying to recover compensation for the loss of your loved one while you and your family grieve and focus on moving on with your lives.
You can avoid dealing with difficult insurance companies, who will fight your claim to avoid paying it or paying much less than you deserve. You already have enough to deal with after losing a loved one—dealing with insurance companies should be the least of your problems. Furthermore, when you get an attorney involved, the insurance company is more likely to offer a fair and reasonable settlement. The insurance company knows that you are more likely to know what you deserve if you hire an attorney and that you are more likely to take them to court if they do not agree to a fair settlement. Going to court always costs the insurance company more money in attorneys fees. Additionally, a court could order the defendant to pay more than it could settle for, even if it had agreed to the amount in your first demand letter.
An experienced wrongful death attorney, like those at Shiner Law Group, knows this and more about filing these claims and is invaluable to have at your side as you seek compensation for the loss of your loved one.
How much does it cost to retain a Boca Raton wrongful death lawyer?
Typically, a Boca Raton wrongful death attorney will provide a free case consultation upfront and, if you retain them to represent you, they will not charge for legal services unless and until they win your case. When you come in for your initial case evaluation, the attorney will explain the fee arrangement, which typically involves the attorney taking a certain percentage of any settlement or court award they secure on your behalf. They will also let you know what other expenses you could be responsible for. In most cases, you pay these fees whether you win or lose. These often include such things as court filing fees.
Boca Raton Wrongful Death Lawyer Review
Boca Raton Wrongful Death Law Office
Shiner Law Group
7800 Congress Avenue, Suite 108
Boca Raton, FL 33487