When a death is caused by the wrongful act or the neglect of another person, the surviving family of the victim has the right to seek compensation for their loss from the person who caused the death. It may seem obvious that a death is wrong, but the law is not so simple. In order to prove a wrongful death, a Palm Beach wrongful death attorney must show that the following four elements were present: duty, breach of duty, causation and damages.
Duty - In order to win a wrongful death case, it must be shown that the defendant had a duty to act or a duty to refrain from acting in a certain way that caused or contributed to the death. It must be foreseeable that neglecting that duty could result in injury or death. For example, a driver has the duty to refrain from driving while under the influence of alcohol because driving while intoxicated is a leading cause of car accident death in Florida. If a driver chooses to get behind the wheel with a BAC greater than .08, he is neglecting that duty and risking injury or death to himself or others.
Breach of Duty - It must be shown that the defendant in some way failed to meet a standard of care. A drunk driver is breaking the law. A surgeon who fails to check medical records before operating is not acting according to standard medical procedure.
Causation - This is often the most difficult element to establish in a Florida wrongful death claim. The Palm Beach wrongful death attorney must show that the breach of duty caused or contributed to the death. While it may be obvious that a drunk driver caused a fatal Palm Beach car crash, it may be more difficult to prove a medical malpractice claim.
Damages - Damages refer to the monetary value of a claim. A wrongful death claim can include both the monetary loss suffered by a family and the emotional loss. A Palm Beach wrongful death lawyer can calculate damages based on the age, occupation, and household contribution of the deceased.
If you would like to discuss your family's loss, contact West Palm Beach personal injury attorney David Glatthorn at 866-413-5525.