Compassionate Attorneys Guiding Bereaved Families in West Palm Beach
After the death of a loved one, your first response is grief. However, if the loss was unexpected, it can also have financial consequences. Families in this situation may find themselves struggling not only with the emotional devastation of the loss, but also with medical bills, funeral expenses, mortgages that cannot be paid for lack of a second income, and other practical considerations. The injury lawyers at Anidjar & Levine are experienced advocates for West Palm Beach families who have suffered the untimely death of a loved one due to the negligence or recklessness of another person or entity.
Bringing a Florida Wrongful Death Action
Under Florida Statutes section 678.18, when someone’s death is caused by another’s wrongful actions, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty, the deceased person’s estate can sue for specific losses. The personal representative of the estate can file a wrongful death claim. If there is no estate plan naming the personal representative, this person can be appointed by the court. The representative must list the survivors who have an interest in the case, and the lawsuit will be pursued on behalf of both the estate and certain surviving family members. Typically, the wrongful death suit must be filed within four years of the fatal accident.
The survivors who are entitled to pursue compensation include the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased, as well as relatives or siblings who were dependent on the victim for support and services. If parents are unmarried, a child may only recover damages for the wrongful death of his or her father if the father formally recognized the child. However, a child may be able to recover damages if her mother dies and her parents were unmarried.
Liability in a wrongful death lawsuit is expressed in terms of monetary compensation. Under Florida Statutes section 768.21, damages that may be sought include compensation for support and services, loss of companionship and guidance, medical or funeral expenses for which a surviving family member paid, and pain and suffering. The estate should also be able to seek lost income and benefits, lost net accumulations, and any medical or funeral expenses paid. Net accumulations are the portion of the deceased person’s income that he or she would have kept as savings if he or she had lived as long as expected. With regard to net accumulations, the jury will need to look at the defendant’s propensity to earn and his or her personality traits. If the deceased was recurrently unemployed, for example, the award may be lower in this regard.
If the defendant was convicted of a crime related to the death, it may be easier to recover because negligence per se will probably apply, eliminating the need for the plaintiff to prove the defendant’s duty or a breach of that duty.
Enlist a West Palm Beach Lawyer to Pursue Compensation after an Accident
West Palm Beach is the county seat of Palm Beach County in South Florida. Juan Ponce de Leon’s first contact with native people in the area was in 1513. The area that became West Palm Beach was settled as “Lake Worth Country” in the 1870s-1880s. At Anidjar & Levine, we aggressively pursue damages for families in the West Palm Beach area who have lost loved ones in car accidents or other preventable events. Our attorneys understand how hard it is to recover from an unexpected death, and we can pursue compensation so that you can take the time necessary to grieve. Our office also represents residents of Boca Raton, Boynton Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, and other Palm Beach County communities. For a free consultation, call us at 800-747-3733 or contact us via our online form.