What is Involved in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Involving a Car Accident
It is possible for individuals to lose their lives because of another person’s negligence. This could be the case in a fatal car accident. When this happens, it is possible for those who survived the deceased to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This is done to obtain compensation for the survivors.
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When people have lost a loved one, they must grieve their passing. There will come a time when the mourning process also involves speaking with legal counsel on the best way to handle their loss. They will need to learn about all the ways their damages could be compensated. In the state of Florida, there are statutory procedures in place that make it possible for real parties of interest to potentially receive compensation for a wrongful death.
In the state of Florida, the statutes that establish the process and standards for seeking compensation in a wrongful death action are Florida Statutes, Sections 768.16 to 768.26. These laws identify who can file a claim and who is considered a plaintiff. They cover the various types of damages that can be obtained for adults as well as any minor children involved in the action. These statutes also cover the various complicated procedures as well as legal technicalities that are required to be followed in a wrongful death action.
Real Parties of Interest
The standards in these statutes must be met for anyone to be considered a beneficiary or real party of interest in Florida. These individuals might be the immediate family members including children and spouses. They can also include all adopted children, the parents of unmarried children and more. Financial dependents could also be real parties of interest. It’s also possible for distant relative such as grandparents as well as brothers, sisters, and cousins to be considered by a Florida court to be real parties of interest. Only those who are accepted as real parties of interest can be considered beneficiaries and recover damages under a wrongful death action.
When there are survivors who have experienced damage as the result of a person’s death, they can have a personal representative file a wrongful death suit on their behalf. In many cases, this representative is also the executor of a decedent’s estate.
Who May Be Sued
Who can be legally held responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit is determined by individual situations. It could include company employees, various individuals, government agencies and more. This could include the builder or designer of a dangerous roadway or a government agency determined to have failed to provide sufficient warning concerning road hazards. It could also involve the installer, manufacturer or distributor of vehicle parts. Individuals who provided or served alcohol that impaired a driver or the owner of the premises where the alcohol was served could also be held responsible.
These are damages that include the value of a victim’s financial contribution to the survivors had they have not passed away. These include such things as the value of goods and services the victim would have provided as well as medical and funeral expenses associated with the death. It could include the loss of an inheritance resulting from an untimely death as well as loss of the victim’s anticipated earnings. In many situations, economic damages also include loss of the victim’s pension benefits as well as medical coverage and more.
These damages are not as easy to quantify as economic damages but may have more value. They include such things as loss of consortium with a deceased partner as well as mental suffering, anguish and emotional pain. It could also include loss of companionship as well as love and society from the accident victim. Beneficiaries can also sue for damages for loss of advice, training, protection, care as well as nurturing and more that would have been provided by the deceased.
Punitive damages are awarded as a way to punish the defendant. This will be determined by the defendant’s exceptional bad conduct. In some situations, it may be possible for real parties of interest to collect treble damages. This is an amount equal to three times the determined compensation for established damages. It’s also possible for beneficiaries to be reimbursed for all their attorneys’ fees as well as costs associated with pursuing the lawsuit.
Successful Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are certain elements that must be present for a wrongful death lawsuit involving a vehicle accident to be successful. The responsibility for the accident needs to be someone or something other than the deceased. This is often the driver of another vehicle who is negligent. The other thing is sufficient insurance. One thing that can make a wrongful death lawsuit involving a fatal car accident a real challenge is insufficient insurance. The driver who is determined to be at fault may have inadequate vehicle insurance. They may also not have enough personal assets to properly compensate the parties of interest. An experienced attorney will know where to look for any assets the responsible driver may have to recover damages. It may also be possible to recover if the victim has uninsured insurance coverage.
It is possible for law enforcement to come to the wrong conclusion when it comes to determining fault for an accident. This can be challenging because a deceased person is unable to tell what happened from their perspective. An experienced attorney will know how to conduct their own investigation into what happened during the accident. They will know how to reconstruct the accident and show what the deceased experienced. They will know how to obtain witness statements as well as preserve eyewitness accounts and more.
When someone’s negligence on the road causes the death of another person, they must be held accountable. Wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated and legally challenging. It is important for people who have lost a loved one to a fatal car accident speak with an experienced attorney. They will know the value of a case and how to proceed based on the facts.
Contact Abrahamson & Uiterwyk at 800-753-5203 for a free case evaluation, our dedicated law team is standing by for your call.