Compensation for Death in a Car AccidentTrusted Content
Legally reviewed by:Erik Abrahamson, J.D. February 10, 2021
Coping with the death of a loved one is never easy. When a loved one dies in a car accident caused by a negligent party, the grief is not any less.
Though it may do little to ease the pain, depending on your relationship to the deceased, you may be entitled to a car accident death insurance payout.
Wrongful Death in a Car Accident
In 2019, there were 401,867 total vehicle crashes in Florida that resulted in 3,185 fatalities according to the Florida Highway Safety and Transportation annual report.
Florida wrongful death as it relates to car accidents entitles certain survivors the right to recover damages against the party that caused the accident.
A personal representative named in the will or estate plan of the deceased has the right to file a wrongful death claim. The court will appoint a representative if one was not chosen by the deceased.
The representative must represent all survivors who have an interest in the lawsuit and insurance payout for car accident death. These survivors may include the deceased person’s:
- Children (biological or adopted), and
- Blood relatives and adopted siblings who were dependent on the deceased.
In Florida, a child born to unmarried parents can recover damages in a wrongful death case if his or her mother dies. A child can recover damages for an unmarried father’s death only if the father had a recognized responsibility for the child’s support.
Compensation for Death in a Car Accident
An insurance payout for a car accident death depends upon the policy limits of the party that caused the death of your loved one. However, these policies are often not enough to provide fair compensation. In that case, your wrongful death attorney can advise you on options for filing a wrongful death suit to recover additional compensation.
Economic Damages for Wrongful Death
Economic damages take into consideration the financial contribution the deceased would have made to survivors if not for the accident. Current wages, future earning potential, and benefits such as health insurance are taken into consideration.
Compensation for expenses is also a part of economic relief. Medical expenses from the accident, property damage, and funeral expenses may be recovered in a car accident death insurance payout or relief from a wrongful death lawsuit.
Non-Economic Damages for Wrongful Death
There is no amount of money that can truly compensate for the loss of life, but non-economic damages are as close as you will get. This form of relief takes into consideration mental anguish, pain and suffering, loss of consortium, loss of care, and other means by which survivors suffer due to the loss of their loved one.
Options for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
There are several things you can do to receive compensation for death in a car accident. You may opt to first explore insurance payouts, which means filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance. This assumes that they have insurance. If they do not, you may be able to file a claim with the deceased’s uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.
The biggest concerns with an insurance payout for accident death is that the insurance company will try to offer less than a fair settlement and that there may not be enough coverage on the policy to compensate for the death of your loved one.
It is important not to accept a settlement for less than what you reasonably deserve. An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney is a valuable resource for determining the best course of action to receive fair relief.
Proving Wrongful Death in a Car Accident
To recover compensation in a wrongful death car accident case, you must establish that the defendant’s wrongful actions caused your loved one’s death. In car accidents, the wrongful action is typically the defendant’s negligence.
Negligence occurs when someone owes a duty to act as a reasonable person would under the circumstances but fails to do so, and as a result, causes injury. When it comes to driving, every driver owes a duty to others on the road to use reasonable care and obey traffic laws. Examples of behavior that may support a wrongful death claim include
- Driving recklessly;
- Violating traffic rules;
- Distracted driving, such as texting while driving; and
- Driving under the influence.
In 2019, Florida had 342 confirmed deaths linked to drug and alcohol consumption while driving.
Cause of Death
To prove wrongful death, you must also show that the accident that caused the death was the result of the defendant’s negligence. In other words, you need to show that if not for the wrongful action of the defendant, the death would not have occurred.
How an Attorney Can Help Achieve Compensation for Death in a Car Accident
When your world has been turned upside down from the death of a loved one, the last thing you want to do is fret over your legal rights. Some of the ways an attorney can fight for your rights include:
- Negotiating with your insurance company;
- Negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company;
- Filing legal paperwork;
- Gathering and evaluating evidence to prove wrongful death;
- Interviewing witnesses;
- Preparing legal arguments;
- Evaluating settlement options; and
- Representing you at trial, if necessary.
Hiring a wrongful death attorney can help you have a better understanding of the value of your claim and pursue the compensation you can expect.
The experienced car accident lawyers at Abrahamson and Uiterwyk has helped Florida survivors find fair compensation in their wrongful death cases for over 30 years.
We understand the hardships of losing a loved one and give you space to heal while fighting on your behalf. Contact us today for your free case consultation.