Table of Contents
1. Did You Lose A Loved One to Wrongful Death?
2. Common Causes of a Wrongful Death
3. Who Can Sue for a Wrongful Death?
4. Wrongful Death Damages
5. Proving a Wrongful Death Case
6. Evidence Supporting A Wrongful Death Claim
7. Projecting The Value Of Financial Compensation
8. Dealing With The Insurance Companies
9. Hiring A Wrongful Death Attorney For Your Case
Did You Lose A Loved One to Wrongful Death?
When death comes violently, without warning, and as the result of someone else’s negligence, grief takes a heavy toll on the family left behind. Immediately following the death, a spouse, child, or parent may experience anger, depression, and feelings of helplessness. At this time emotions can be both overwhelming and debilitating. At Shiner Law Group, we are a formidable team and value the relationship we have with each other and with our clients. We stand ready to guide your family through this challenging time. We take our responsibility to help you recover, both emotionally and financially, very seriously.
A civil wrongful death lawsuit is separate from criminal prosecution and is filed by a personal representative of the family, or the estate, on behalf of the eligible survivors. At Shiner Law Group we fully understand the decision to initiate a wrongful death action is a difficult one for survivors in the aftermath of a devastating loss. The legal process is both complicated and confusing. In response to concerns regarding phone and online services we gladly offer online and video options for consultations, as well as document delivery service.
Our legal team is well respected and recognized in the Florida legal community. Our founding member, David Shiner is a member of the Florida Bar in addition to :
- South Palm Beach County Bar Association
- Palm Beach County Bar Association
- Palm Beach County Justice Association
- American Association of Justice,
- Florida Justice Association
- The American Bar Association
We believe having our firm in your corner can make a substantial and significant difference in a wrongful death claim. At a time when you have nothing but questions, you need a strong support system to provide the answers you need to understand the process and procedures of a civil suit. Unquestionably, there is no adequate compensation for the loss of a loved one, especially from a preventable fatal accident. The law, however, allows for recovery. It is a families’ legal right to hold accountable those whose negligence caused the death of their loved one.
A wrongful death lawsuit can help a family unit regain a sense of purpose as they pursue justice for a life lost. Additionally, a civil suit can:
- Provide some needed closure
- Alleviate the worry about financial security
- Shed some light on the defendant’s negligence
The attorneys at Shiner Law Group operate on a contingency fee basis. We have offices located in Palm Beach County, St. Lucie County, and Martin County and serve families throughout the state of Florida.
Common Causes of a Wrongful Death
Wrongful death has a broad legal definition in comparison to personal injury. Simply stated, wrongful death is neglect, carelessness, or wrongdoing of a person, or entity, which causes the death of another. Car accidents, resulting from careless driving, operating a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol, driver fatigue, and defective roadways and signage are some of the leading causes of wrongful death. Negligence in a civil lawsuit can be as simple and straightforward as a cyclist being struck by a motor vehicle or wrought with confusion and extenuating circumstances in cases involving nursing home abuse or medical errors.
Some of the more common causes of wrongful death include:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Defective products
- Premises liability issues
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home injuries
- Construction site accidents
- Boating accidents
- Assault and battery
- Elder abuse or neglect
- Occupational exposure and hazards
Who Can Sue for a Wrongful Death?
Based on the 2020 Florida statutes wrongful death claims can be filed by the deceased’s spouse (including same-sex spouse), children, parents, and any blood relative or adoptive sibling dependent on the deceased for either support or services. A representative of the estate of the departed usually files the claim on behalf of survivors.
- Each eligible survivor may seek monetary compensation for the projected lifetime value of lost support and services
- The surviving spouse can recover the monetary value of lost economic support, as well as loss of companionship, protection, and compensation pain and suffering
- Children (under the age of 25) are able to recover from the loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance
- Each parent of a deceased minor child may recover financially from mental pain and suffering
Wrongful Death Damages
The monetary value of a wrongful death claim will depend on the specific details of each case. If the deceased was the primary family wage-earner, the loss can be financially devastating. The victims’ families can receive monetary compensation for medical bills, lost income, loss of possible inheritance, as well as funeral expenses. Non-monetary damages include loss of care and nurture that the decedent would have provided and loss of affection and companionship. Other factors that may be considered include:
- The loss of Social Security benefits
- The loss of health insurance
- The Loss of services previously provided by the deceased(childcare, housekeeping, financial advisement)
Proving a Wrongful Death Case
In order to obtain compensation, family members are required to prove their loved one’s death was the result of another party’s negligence. Additionally, the evidence must substantiate, by a preponderance of the evidence, the at-fault party failed to provide an expected standard of care and responsibility. This is a multi-faceted and complex area of personal injury law. Investigating the circumstances can be a lengthy process and identifying the responsible party(or parties) is often an arduous task. The lawyers at Shiner Law Group have the ability and resources to utilize accident re-constructionists to curate evidence. We also understand the value of family impact statements.
The basis of a wrongful death claim include:
- Proof of negligence
- Showing breach of duty
Evidence Supporting A Wrongful Death Claim
In addition to eyewitness testimony, and expert witness testimony, additional evidence may be required to support a wrongful death claim. Such documentation may include:
- A death certificate
- If applicable, a police report
- Medical, toxicology, and autopsy reports
- Proof the deceased was owed a duty of care by the defendant
- Proof of the defendant’s negligence
Projecting The Value Of Financial Compensation
There is no industry standard in this type of law, The majority of wrongful death cases will settle out of court, however, at the Shiner Law Group, we are prepared for all possible scenarios. We have the resources and determination to carry a claim all the way into the courtroom. Collectively, our team understands how to present a compelling case to a judge and jury.
In determining the value of losses in a wrongful death case, no detail is too small to consider. The human aspect of this type of tragic loss should not be overlooked. Each claimant’s needs are carefully evaluated. Every detail matters. Among the things taken into consideration are:
- The age and expected life expectancy of each qualifying survivor
- The immediate needs of minor children
- The length of time until minors become adults
- The projected life expectancy of the deceased
- The educational background of the deceased
- The potential value of a lifetime of earnings lost
- The probability of any increased financial needs in the future
The personal estate of the deceased may request compensation for any medical bills associated with the death, burial costs, and lost income (including projected future income)of the deceased. Among the things qualified surviving members may seek compensation for include:
- The value of household services
- Loss of anticipated financial support
- Loss of companionship and affection
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of guidance
Dealing With The Insurance Companies
Insurance claims adjusters have a vested interest in limiting the financial obligations of the companies they represent. They are experts in the art of devaluing a claim, and they are relentless in their attempt to undermine a family’s attempt to seek financial justice for their loss.
- Do contact your personal insurance agent for information regarding any life insurance policies in place.
- Do not give any recorded statement to the defendant’s insurance representative
- Do not answer or acknowledge any emails or texts before speaking with a wrongful death attorney
It is important for all family members seeking financial recovery to present a united front when dealing with insurance carriers.
Hiring A Wrongful Death Attorney For Your Case
Failure to submit a wrongful death claim in a timely manner may result in necessary and vital evidence being compromised, or lost altogether. In addition, missing the deadline will negate your right to any potential recovery. As soon as you are emotionally able, seek legal counsel. Wrongful death cases must be filed within state-specific guidelines. There is a two-year statute of limitations, from the date of death, for filing a wrongful death claim in Florida. We sincerely hope your family will never face the tragedy of wrongful death. We offer our heartfelt condolences to those individuals currently dealing with the sudden and needless death of a loved one. Contact a wrongful death lawyer at Shiner Law Group today if you have been impacted by the death of a loved one. We are available 24/7 to discuss your case and answer any questions you may have.