If your loved one died in a car accident in Florida due to someone else’s negligence, you have the right to take legal action. You and other surviving family members can bring a wrongful death car accident lawsuit against the party (or parties) responsible for the death. While the lawsuit cannot change the tragedy that your family has suffered, it can lead to compensation that will help you to move on with your lives.
At Englander Peebles, we understand the grief, anger, and confusion that families experience in the aftermath of a loved one’s death. We can handle all aspects of your case from start to finish and aggressively pursue the compensation that your family deserves. Insurance companies know that our law firm will never back down from a courtroom battle.
When you are ready to act, call, or reach us online. We can provide a free consultation through our office in Fort Lauderdale, Miami Gardens, or Boca Raton. You will pay nothing for our legal services unless we recover compensation for you and your loved ones.
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Causes of Wrongful Death Car Accidents in Florida
Unfortunately, wrongful death car accidents are typically caused by another driver’s negligence, which makes these crashes frustrating for loved ones who are left behind. In some cases, drivers behave in a manner that shows a blatant disregard for the safety of others around them, while in other cases, they simply make careless mistakes that put others in harm’s way. Among the most common causes of fatal car accidents in Florida are:
- Speeding (including going too fast for traffic, road and weather conditions)
- Aggressive driving (such as tailgating or running through red lights)
- Distracted driving
- Drunk or drug-impaired driving
- Violations of traffic laws
When a driver has engaged in any of these behaviors while on the road, and that behavior results in a car accident, that driver is considered negligent under Florida law. The state allows family members to file a lawsuit against negligent drivers when they have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another driver.
Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Car Accident Claim in Florida?
Florida is a no-fault auto insurance state. Generally, after a car accident, a victim is limited to filing a claim for personal injury protection (PIP) benefits with their own insurance company. However, when a death occurs in a crash, the victim’s surviving family members can bring a claim directly against the at-fault party.
Under Florida law, only the “personal representative” of the deceased victim can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, the personal representative is the same person who is named as the executor in the victim’s will. If a wrongful death victim left no will, then a person can through probate court and request to be appointed as a personal representative.
The personal representative brings the wrongful death action for the benefit of the victim’s estate and surviving family members, which can include the victim’s spouse, children, parents, and any relatives who were dependent on the victim.
If the at-fault party dies while a wrongful death action is pending, a common occurrence in car accident cases, the personal representative will need to file a motion for substitution within 90 days of the death. If the personal representative fails to file this motion, the wrongful death lawsuit will be dismissed. For this reason, it is important to work with an attorney who will pay close attention to all deadlines and details.
What Compensation Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Car Accident Claim?
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida is to hold the at-fault party responsible and to shift the losses which occur due to the death from the surviving family members to the at-fault party. If the lawsuit is successful, both the estate and surviving loved ones can collect compensation that will help them to handle expenses brought on by the death and to move forward with their lives.
The damages which surviving family members can pursue in a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Lost support and services
- Lost companionship and protection and mental pain and suffering (if the deceased victim’s spouse)
- Loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance as well as mental pain and suffering for the minor children of the decedent (and all children of the decedent when there is no surviving spouse)
- Mental pain and suffering for each parent of a deceased minor child
- Medical or funeral expenses due to the deceased victim’s injury or death for the survivor who paid for those expenses.
Additionally, the personal representative can pursue the following damages for the victim’s estate:
- Accident-related medical expenses incurred by the victim prior to his or her death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of earnings from the date of injury to date of death
- Loss of future earnings.
If the negligent party acted intentionally, maliciously, or recklessly, a wrongful death lawsuit car accident can also claim punitive damages. These damages are not meant to compensate family members after they have lost a loved one in a car accident. Instead, they are meant to punish the at-fault party for their grossly negligent behavior. Punitive damages are awarded in only certain cases. For instance, they may be sought in cases where the at-fault party caused the fatal crash due to impaired driving or other reckless behavior.
Get Help from Our Florida Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, you may be eligible for compensation. However, don’t try to take on your case alone. Our Florida wrongful death attorneys will determine who was responsible for the crash, carefully calculate your damages, and aggressively pursue full and fair compensation for you and your family.
At Englander Peebles, we realize that you may be overwhelmed and devastated after the unexpected death of a loved one in a car accident. You should spend this time with your loved ones and allow yourself to grieve. You should not be fighting with an insurance company. When you work with our legal team, you can mourn in peace while we handle all aspects of your case.? To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today. We can review your case in a free consultation.