Accidental wrongful death fatalities have a devastating emotional impact on families and cause incalculable grief. Car accidents are the # 1 cause of wrongful deaths in our area. Many recent deadly accidents in Delray Beach have occurred on local roads, especially Linton Blvd. and Federal Highway. I-95 has also been a source of fatalities in this area. Pedestrians have also been affected.
Deadly motorcycle accidents are responsible for a portion of these fatalities as well. In September, a 43-year old man was killed after crashing his motorcycle onto a turning car at Winner’s Circle and U.S. 441 in Delray Beach.
Pedestrian and bike accidents rank 2nd in a list no one wants to be a statistic on. Earlier this year, two pedestrians were hit by a car near Linton Boulevard and Ocean Drive in Delray Beach.
Unfortunately, the carnage continues.
A Life Lost
A life lost is incalculable to survivors, family, and friends. The wrongful death attorney always attempts to balance these needs with settled lawsuits, resulting in financial compensation to somewhat relieve the loss’s grief and severity.
What Exactly is a Wrongful Death Claim?
David J. Zappitell, founding partner of Zappitell Law Firm in Delray Beach, explains that a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit brought by the deceased’s family against the person or people responsible for the death. Since a deceased individual cannot initiate a lawsuit, the claim is typically brought by close family members and alleges a particular level of negligence or misconduct on the part of the accused (also known as the defendant). Beneficiaries with a right to monetary damages are the surviving family members.
In the past, there was no legal remedy for surviving family members to file wrongful death lawsuits in common law courts across the country. That eventually changed as more states passed legislation to safeguard survivors. Florida has rules that allow a family member who has lost a loved one unjustly to sue for financial reparations. The laws governing the filing of wrongful death lawsuits differ slightly in other states, but they are all quite similar in nature and include a wide range of wrongful death categories that result from a death brought on by a personal injury.
Burden of Proof
The burden of proof is based on available evidence. The issue is typically taken before a civil court rather than a criminal court, which requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This is not the case in the civil court system. It is more straightforward for a family to pursue justice this way than to demand criminal prosecution. Nevertheless, it is possible to file a criminal charge against someone in addition to suing for financial compensation. It is possible for someone to pursue a murder, manslaughter, or criminally negligent homicide conviction while also bringing a wrongful death civil lawsuit.
Senior Citizen Abuse
The possibility of wrongful death resulting from senior citizen abuse in Palm Beach and Martin Counties is especially horrifying.
In Delray Beach, for example, people over sixty make up most of the population. Attorneys frequently get calls from the families of older adults who passed away because they weren’t taken care of. No matter how compelling the evidence might be, Florida law requires attorneys to deny many claims of older wrongful death. The limits of the Florida Wrongful Death Act must be understood if you intend to hire a lawyer to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of an older person who passed away because of another person’s negligence.
It’s a discouraging assessment, but there are no absolutes. We analyze every case based on its merits, and the results don’t always fall where you would expect.
Difficulty Prevails, Unfortunately
The fact is that wrongful death claims are difficult to win. There are always exceptions to the rule, so if you think an older friend or family member in Palm Beach or Martin County died due to carelessness or abuse, you should speak with us about a wrongful death claim. Additionally, it’s critical always to be aware of Florida’s two-year statute of limitations, which applies to all claims for wrongful death. Simply put, the claim may be lost forever if the lawsuit isn’t filed within two (2) years of the passing of the person being sued.
Unfortunately, wrongful deaths occasionally happen in Delray Beach and Palm Beach County. They are especially prevalent in heavily trafficked areas. Zappitell Law Firm has the experience and expertise for adequate representation in these situations. We conveniently have offices in Boca Raton, Greenacres and Port St. Lucie and can be reached at 561-330-6330.