Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Lawyers

October 6, 2022 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman

Facing a family member's sudden and tragic death is quite possibly the worst life event anyone must go through. Death is never easy, but losing someone because of preventable fatal injuries compounds the devastation and grief families must face. The mental anguish can multiply if the deceased provided some or all of a household's income, leaving families without money for monthly bills, housing, and other basic needs. Families can face bankruptcy, foreclosure, vehicle repossession, and more in the worst situations.

If a family member you love has sustained fatal injuries because of another party's negligence or intentional harm, you could be eligible for compensation. Florida law permits certain family members to seek compensation for damages by bringing a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one.

An experienced Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can help you through this challenging time. Our firm has ample experience helping family members seek justice in wrongful death cases. Contact us today to discuss the details of your loved one's death and to determine your eligibility to recover compensation.

Why Choose Dolman Law Group for Your Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Claim

Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Lawyer

After losing a loved one, you need to spend time mourning with your family and figuring out how to move on with life. Adjusting to your loss and facing the changes it brings needs to be your top priority, leaving little time to deal with insurance providers, their bullying, and other tricky strategies to avoid financial liability. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, understands how insurance companies work and anticipate their moves.

The skilled Palm Harbor injury attorneys at Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, have extensive experience representing families who have faced the death of a loved one due to negligence.

Several members of Dolman Law Group have received national recognition for their professional excellence and client advocacy. Prestigious organizations such as the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum, National Trial Lawyers, Super Lawyers, and Best Lawyers have given awards to many members of Dolman Law Group's legal team.

Our wrongful death lawyers are committed to helping families who lost a loved one due to negligence seek justice and obtain the maximum compensation possible.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has the knowledge and resources to help your family seek justice after your loved one dies because of negligence. We know how to communicate with insurance providers, and their large legal teams do not intimidate us. A skilled wrongful death lawyer can handle the details of your Palm Harbor wrongful death claim while you grieve your loss and find comfort with friends and family.

Dolman Law Group's Palm Harbor office is only a few blocks west of US Highway 19 at 2385 Tampa Road. We prefer to meet prospective clients in person to evaluate their cases. However, schedules and life circumstances sometimes make this impossible, so we offer convenient virtual meetings when face-to-face meetings do not work. Call our office for your free consultation or submit the details of your Palm Harbor wrongful death claim online.

Compensation in Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Claims

If you are an eligible family member with a viable wrongful death claim, Florida law entitles you to take legal action against the individual, business, or another party responsible for your loved one's death. Florida courts usually award compensation in wrongful death cases based on the financial need of surviving dependence and how long the deceased would have lived.

If you reach a settlement agreement with the other side or a Florida court rules in favor of the plaintiff, finding another party's negligence caused your loved one's death, you could receive compensation for damages. Damages in wrongful death claims include economic and noneconomic losses.

Here are common losses that makeup compensation in Florida wrongful death cases:

  • Loss of service and support. This type of compensation depends on the family member's relationship with the deceased, the amount of income the deceased would have made in their lifetime, and the cost of replacement services.
  • Loss of companionship and protection. Surviving spouses can receive this type of compensation as well as compensation for emotional pain and suffering from the date their spouse was injured, which might be before the date of death.
  • Emotional pain and suffering. Minor dependents who lose a parent and parents who survive losing a minor child might also receive compensation for emotional pain and suffering. Parents of adult children do not receive compensation for pain and suffering after a loss unless no other survivors exist.
  • Lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance. If no surviving spouse exists or if a minor dependent loses both parents at once, they can receive this type of compensation in a Palm Harbor wrongful death claim.
  • Medical treatment costs. Any family member who paid for medical expenses prior to the time of death could receive reimbursement if they prevail in their wrongful death case.
  • Funeral expenses. Many wrongful death claims include compensation for funeral or memorial service expenses and burial or cremation costs.

In many Florida wrongful death lawsuits, a personal representative of the deceased brings a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate of the deceased.

In this scenario, the court awards damages to the estate, which might include compensation for:

  • Lost wages and benefits from the date of injury until the date of death
  • Loss of prospective net accumulations of an estate
  • Medical treatment costs paid by the estate
  • Funeral expenses and burial costs paid by the estate

Each wrongful death case has specific facts and circumstances that add to or detract from its value, and the types of compensation eligible family members can recover.

Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, cannot guarantee a specific financial outcome for your Palm Harbor wrongful death claim, but we will aggressively pursue the maximum compensation for your claim. During your first meeting with our firm, we can review the facts of your case and let you know what damages apply to your claim.

Statute of Limitations for Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Under Florida law, families who want to seek justice for wrongful death must comply with a two-year statute of limitations. In Florida, a personal representative of the estate of the deceased must file a wrongful death lawsuit. This means you and your family have two years to take legal action and initiate the lawsuit with the representative. Failure to meet the deadline puts you at risk of not recovering damages related to the loss of your family member.

Under specific and rare circumstances, a Florida court might pause the statute of limitations time clock. For example, if you were in a traffic crash with your loved one who suffered fatal injuries, and you sustained serious injuries that left you incapacitated, you might still be able to take action after the deadline. If you are concerned about the statute of limitations for your wrongful death claim, Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can evaluate your case and find out if your situation warrants an exception.

Even though you have two years from the date of death to take legal action with a Palm Harbor wrongful death lawsuit, it's in your best interest not to wait. As time goes by, the evidence to support your case sometimes weakens. Witnesses have difficulties remembering the event that led to a loved one's death. Other times, your attorney cannot find them because they have moved out of state or died. The sooner you let an experienced lawyer begin working on your claim, the better chance you have of recovering damages for your loss.

Situations that Lead to Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Claims

Under Florida law, wrongful death refers to a death that results from a wrongful act or negligence. Eligible family members have a viable claim when their loved one would have had a viable personal injury claim if they survived their injuries.

Common situations that give rise to wrongful death claims include:

  • Traffic crashes. Palm Harbor's proximity to Tampa and Clearwater contributes to heavy traffic, creating an environment for many traffic accidents. Impaired, distracted, drowsy, and other reckless drivers cause various types of traffic collisions, some of which are fatal.
  • Boating accidents. Many Palm Harbor residents enjoy the water because of its location along the Gulf of Mexico. The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) reports that boat fatalities occur because of distracted, reckless, drunk, and inexperienced boat operators.
  • Workplace accidents. Fatal on-the-job injuries involve employers and potential third parties, making these wrongful death cases more complex than usual. Families often receive workers' comp death benefits, but a Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer can ensure they receive full compensation.
  • Slip and fall accidents. Falls that lead to fatal injuries are more prevalent in Florida because of the large senior population. Negligent business owners and nursing homes can be liable for damages if a senior dies after suffering slip and fall accident injuries.
  • Swimming pool accidents. Many Palm Harbor homes have swimming pools, and families without a pool can find one nearby, whether a community pool, a neighbor's residence, a hotel, or a waterpark. Drownings are the most common, but slip and fall accidents near a pool can also lead to fatal injuries.
  • Medical malpractice. Medical negligence and medical errors are among the most painful wrongful death situations. People trust medical professionals to diagnose, treat, and cure their illnesses, injuries, and diseases. Misdiagnoses, surgical errors, medication errors, improper use of medical equipment, and a wide range of other scenarios can lead to the death of a patient and a subsequent medical malpractice wrongful death claim.

Fighting an Insurance Provider During a Wrongful Death Claim

The insurance company on the other side will offer their condolences for your loss. However, they are not sorry enough to automatically hand over fair compensation for your loss. They will use every tactic they can to avoid financial liability for their policyholder, even when it is clear that their policyholder is to blame for the death of your loved one.

Insurance companies often fight harder to deny or devalue wrongful death claims because they are often of a much higher value than personal injury claims. Insurance companies want to avoid a large payout, whether in a settlement from a jury verdict.

Once you meet with a Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer and hire them to represent you, they will evaluate your claim and determine who you need to name as a defendant in your wrongful death lawsuit.

Depending on how your loved one died, you might have to deal with auto, commercial, or homeowners insurance providers. The company will assign an adjuster to investigate your wrongful death claim. The investigator will gather evidence that provides justification to deny the claim or lower the amount of compensation.

You can be sure the insurance carrier involved in your Palm Harbor wrongful death claim will use every trick they can to shift blame to your loved one or a third party, so they can avoid financial liability. The skilled legal team at Dolman Law Group knows tactics insurance companies use and knows how to communicate with them, so they take clients' claims more seriously. The lawyers of Dolman Law Group are trained negotiators that often recover more damages for families than a family would recover if they did not hire a lawyer.

Palm Harbor Wrongful Death FAQs

We cannot turn back the clock and bring your loved one back or erase the grief and emotional distress that you and your family are going through. However, Florida law permits you to take legal action against the party responsible for your loved one's death. If you reach a settlement agreement or a Florida court rules in your favor, you could receive compensation for damages related to your loss.

No amount of money will undo the past, but receiving compensation for damages can help put your family on solid financial footing after dealing with the economic losses associated with the death of a family member. It's best to meet with an experienced Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer as soon as you have the opportunity. Until you have a chance to consult with an attorney, the following answers to frequently asked questions about Palm Harbor wrongful death claims offer preliminary information for you to review.

What Qualifies as Wrongful Death?

Unfortunately, people die suddenly in tragic accidents all the time. However, not all unexpected deaths qualify as wrongful deaths. Wrongful death refers to specific situations when a person suffers fatal injuries because of willful harm, negligence, or breach of contract.

Eligible family members can bring a wrongful death claim against the individual, business, or another party at fault for the death of their loved one. These claims, which are civil actions, compensate surviving spouses and other family members who win their cases for losses related to the loss of their family member.

Who Can File a Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Claim?

Under Florida law, only a representative of the estate of the deceased can file a lawsuit against the negligent party at-fault for the death of their loved one. Family members cannot directly bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a person, business, or other entity.

If the estate prevails in the claim, the executor or administrator will distribute compensation for damages to the following family members:

  • Surviving spouses
  • Minor children who lose one or both parents
  • Parents who lost a minor child
  • Dependent family members, including siblings and other blood relatives

If you want to initiate a wrongful death claim, your Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer can guide you through the process and determine if you are eligible to collect damages.

Is an Autopsy Required for a Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Florida law does not require an autopsy to sue another party for wrongful death. However, if the event or situation that led to your loved one's death warranted an investigation by law enforcement, it's possible the district attorney or medical examiner ordered an autopsy as part of the investigation. If they did not order an autopsy, you can expect your wrongful death attorney to advise you to request one.

Autopsies provide valuable evidence to wrongful death claims because they clear up questions about the time and cause of death. Sometimes you do not need an autopsy to prove the cause of death, such as if your loved one died from fatal car accident injuries. Yet, other situations almost always require an autopsy to establish liability. Autopsies are especially necessary for wrongful death claims involving defective medical devices, defective medications, and medical malpractice.

Do Florida Courts Award Punitive Damages in Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Claims?

It depends on the situation. Punitive damages refer to a specific type of compensation someone asks for in a personal injury claim. Florida courts sometimes award punitive damages to deter a defendant from engaging in future negligent behavior that causes harm to others. The estate of your loved one might have grounds to sue for punitive damages. Under Florida law, intentional harm, gross negligence, and other reckless behavior provide justification for punitive damages. Your lawyer can evaluate your case to determine if you can seek punitive damages.

You should be aware that Florida caps punitive damages to three times the amount of compensatory damages or $500,000, whichever is greater, in most cases. If the death occurred because of reckless disregard and the defendant had knowledge, Florida law increases the cap to four times the compensatory damages or $2 million, whichever is greater. Wrongful death actions based on intentional harm have no caps on damages.

How Do I Prove Wrongful Death?

Not all unexpected deaths happen because of negligence or willful harm.

For the estate of the deceased to prevail in their wrongful death claim, they must prove:

  • Your loved one died. An official death certificate provides evidence of death for the insurance company and death.
  • The negligence or intentional harm of another party caused your loved one's death.
  • You suffered harm related to the loss of the deceased. Harm includes economic damages like medical expenses, funeral expenses, and lost income. It also includes noneconomic losses like loss of support and guidance or loss of service and society.

Once you consult with a Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer, they will begin to gather evidence to support your wrongful death claim.

How Do I Know if My Family Member's Death Was Wrongful?

If your loved one died from a fatal injury that occurred during an intentional criminal act like assault, abuse, domestic violence, or murder, it's probable that you have a legitimate wrongful death claim. However, car crashes and other events that lead to death can be far more complex.

Your Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer must prove the elements mentioned above for you to receive compensation. Many circumstances can impact the legitimacy of a wrongful death claim, so it's best to discuss your case with a lawyer to determine the best course of action for you and your family.

My Spouse Died from an On-the-Job Injury. Do I Have a Wrongful Death Claim?

Sometimes surviving spouses can take legal action against an employer after someone dies from a workplace injury. However, workers' comp insurance prevents spouses from bringing wrongful death lawsuits against employers in most situations. You might still have a cause of action against a third party, often a contractor, property owner, or related entity.

For example, if your spouse died from fatal injuries caused by defective equipment or exposure to toxic chemicals, you might have grounds to bring a lawsuit against the product manufacturer. Your Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer will review the circumstances of your spouse's death and identify potential third parties that might be liable for your loved one's death.

How Much Money Could I Receive from a Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Claim?

We cannot guarantee a specific settlement or jury verdict for your Palm Harbor wrongful death claim. Each case has facts that add to or detract from the value of the claim. Generally speaking, wrongful death claims typically have much higher values than other types of personal injury claims. However, insurance companies fight as hard as they can to deny and devalue these high-value claims. Your lawyer can evaluate your claim and give you a ballpark range of what you might receive if you win your case.

Do I Have to Go to Court for a Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death claims are more likely to go to trial than other types of personal injury claims. However, both sides have an incentive to avoid litigation and reach a settlement prior to going to court. Litigation is costly and adds months, often years, to a case. If settlement negotiations fail, going to trial might be the only way to receive compensation for the loss of your loved one.

Although it's not likely you will have to go to court for a Palm Harbor wrongful death claim, you should be prepared for the possibility. An experienced lawyer from Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, can evaluate your claim and discuss the likelihood of going to trial for your situation.

How Long Will it Take to Resolve My Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Case?

Wrongful death claims sometimes settle quicker than other personal injury claims because plaintiffs do not have to wait to learn the full scope of their injuries and their long-term prognosis. However, insurance providers aggressively fight high-value wrongful death claims, which can drag out the length it takes to resolve a claim.

The biggest factor that impacts the length it takes to resolve a wrongful death claim is whether the case goes to trial. Both sides might spend months negotiating and preparing for trial and finally settle an hour before entering the courtroom. Your lawyer will review your case and give you an educated guess about the timeline of your case.

Should I Accept a Settlement Offer from an Insurance Company?

After a wrongful death claim, the settlement offer will typically come to the personal representative of the estate of the deceased. If that is you or if you have knowledge of the offer, it's best to hand it over to an attorney to review. Insurance companies like to make early, lowball settlement offers to avoid paying out high amounts, close the claim, and move on. They protect their bottom line by paying as little as possible on each claim they receive.

Accepting an early settlement offer prevents the insurance provider from having to pay a larger amount later on because claimants must waive their right to sue for more compensation when they accept the offer. This can leave families with financial struggles if they do not receive enough money to cover expenses related to their loss and future lost income. It's best to think of the first offer as a starting point for settlement negotiations.

Your Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer can communicate with the insurance provider and diligently pursue the maximum amount of compensation for your case.

Can I Afford to Hire a Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Attorney?

Yes. Do not let worries about attorney fees and legal costs stop you from seeking justice after the wrongful death of a loved one. Your family has a better chance of recovering damages when you have an experienced wrongful death lawyer advocating for you. Everyone deserves legal representation and the opportunity to seek justice when their loved one died from preventable fatal injuries.

When you hire a Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer, you do not pay out-of-pocket like you would for a divorce lawyer or a tax attorney. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, takes new clients on a contingency fee basis after determining a client has a legitimate wrongful death claim. We deduct attorney fees and other legal costs from any compensation we secure for our clients in a settlement or from court-awarded damages.

How Can a Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Lawyer Help Me?

Personal injury lawyers help clients in various ways beginning at their initial meeting. They advocate for families to get compensation for losses incurred because of the death of a loved one, which also indirectly helps others. Holding negligent parties accountable for deadly errors helps to prevent others in the future from suffering harm or loss from the defendant's actions.

If you have not been in a traffic accident, suffered other injuries, or lost another family member to wrongful death, you may not have had to deal with an insurance provider or talk with a personal injury attorney, leaving you unsure about how a lawyer can help.

Matthew A. Dolman, Attorney
Matthew Dolman, Palm Harbor Wrongful Death Lawyer

Here are common ways a Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer can help:

  • Lawyers evaluate each claim to make sure their clients have a viable claim and to provide them with all legal options they might have to recover damages.
  • Lawyers communicate with relevant parties, including insurance representatives, who are known for pushing ethical boundaries when trying to elicit information from claimants/plaintiffs.
  • Law firms have in-house investigators or contract with an outside investigator to uncover all the facts related to a wrongful death claim. They gather relevant evidence and take witness statements when applicable.
  • Wrongful death attorneys have ample experience negotiating with insurance companies and often get a better financial outcome for the clients.
  • When settlement is not an option, a skilled Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer will go to trial to fight for their clients to get compensation for the loss of their loved one.

Contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, today with further questions and to discuss how we can help you and your family during this difficult time.

You do not have to go through the emotionally charged wrongful death claims process alone. A Palm Harbor wrongful death lawyer can handle your claim while you mourn the loss of your loved one. Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA, has been helping families seek justice for wrongful death since 2004. Contact us at (727) 677-5558 for a free consultation to discuss how your loved one died and how your loss has affected you and your family, or submit your case for review through our online form.

Palm Harbor Office Location
2385 Tampa Road Suite 4
Palm Harbor, FL 34684
(727) 677-5558

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“AMAZING and understanding attorneys! Did great on my case and I highly recommend Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA for anyone that has been injured in an accident!"
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Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

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