Martin County Wrongful Death
When a person dies due to the negligent or intentional act of another person or entity, surviving family members may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. Losing a loved one can be emotionally and financially devastating, but you may be able to hold the liable party accountable for any expenses your family has incurred due to the death, as well as non-economic damages such as loss of companionship, loss of support, and pain and suffering.
The Martin County wrongful death attorneys at Donaldson & Weston can answer all of your claims-related questions and help you determine how to proceed with your case. From the moment you contact our office to the day your case is resolved, we will provide you and your family with aggressive and compassionate representation. Call 772-266-5555 today for a free consultation.Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
Only certain family members of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In cases arising from medical malpractice, the suit can be filed by a surviving spouse, children who were younger than 25 when a parent died, or parents if the deceased was younger than 25.
In cases that do not involve medical malpractice, the suit can be filed by a surviving spouse. If there is no surviving spouse, children of any age can file the lawsuit. If there is neither a surviving spouse nor a surviving child, parents of the deceased can file the lawsuit. In some cases, other relatives of the deceased can file the suit if they were financially dependent on the deceased. A personal representative of the deceased's estate can also bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of beneficiaries.Will My Wrongful Death Case Go to Trial?
Most wrongful death claims reach a settlement before going to trial, but in certain cases, filing a lawsuit is the best course of action. At Donaldson & Weston, we strive to get our clients fairly compensated as quickly as possible without going to trial. During the pre-trial phase of your case, we will perform a thorough investigation, identify all potentially liable parties, and look into relevant insurance policies and available assets.
If it seems likely that your case will be settled pre-lawsuit, we will send a demand package to all relevant parties, which will outline how the death occurred, the relevant laws, and details about the damages you have incurred. However, if a pre-trial settlement cannot be reached, our Martin County wrongful death attorneys will gather all available evidence and file a lawsuit.When Should I Consult a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Martin County?
Damages in wrongful death cases tend to be substantial. Medical bills, funeral costs, and a lifetime of lost income can add up to a small fortune. Unfortunately, the higher the compensation you’re seeking, the more resources the insurance company will likely devote to disputing your claim.
Anything you say to the claims adjuster from the moment the death occurs to the day your case is resolved might be used to challenge your claim. It’s important that you contact a wrongful death attorney right away and let your lawyer handle this correspondence on your behalf.
At Donaldson & Weston, we have an in-depth knowledge of the tactics used by insurance companies to undervalue and deny claims. We’ll protect your interests throughout the proceedings and help you avoid critical mistakes that might lead to complications down the road, such as:
- Making a recorded statement to the insurance company;
- Discussing your case on social media;
- Failing to track your damages; and
- Overlooking valuable evidence.
If your case seems strong, the insurer might offer a settlement fairly soon after the death. If you accept this settlement and sign a release, you won’t be able to seek further compensation if you find out later that the payout was unfair. Our Martin County wrongful death lawyers will make sure this doesn’t happen by accounting for all potentially recoverable damages and fighting for the highest settlement possible. If the opposing party doesn’t cooperate, we have the litigation experience to represent you and your loved ones in court.How to Prove Liability After a Wrongful Death
The evidence your attorney will need to prove liability depends on the facts surrounding the death. How exactly did the accident happen? Where did it occur? What was your loved one doing in the moments leading up to the incident? These are just a few questions your wrongful death attorney might ask to determine how to approach the investigation and what evidence to gather.
Below are just a few types of evidence that might contribute to the strength of your case:
- The Police Report: If police attended the scene, a report should have been created that outlines pertinent details about the incident. Both the insurance company and your lawyer will want to review this report.
- Video Recordings: If the accident was caught on camera, that footage might help your legal team discern the cause of death. Such recordings might have been captured by nearby business establishments or perhaps a dashcam if your loved one died in a motor-vehicle collision.
- Expert Witness Testimony: It’s not uncommon for wrongful death lawyers to bring in expert witnesses to provide testimony regarding liability or damages. An accident reconstruction expert can review the available evidence to piece together what happened just before the death. Depending on the circumstances, such testimony could play a critical role in the outcome of your case.
- Other Evidence: Each wrongful death case is unique, and there may be valuable evidence that is specific to your particular claim. For example, if your family member died in an accident involving a commercial truck, that vehicle’s black box data might point to negligent driving as the cause of the crash. Our attorneys will perform a detailed investigation to compile all available evidence.
The wrongful death lawyers at Donaldson & Weston can explain what will happen during the claims process and the steps you should take to give your case the best chance of success. We offer tenacious legal representation to victims of wrongful death in Martin County and throughout Florida. Call our law firm today at 772-266-5555 or use our Contact Form to arrange a free case review.