COVID-19 FAQs

Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

When negligent or reckless driving is at play, the consequences can be severe, as is evident from a recent fatal collision that took place near Miami. A popular news site recently published information on the accident, revealing details about the driver as well as the victims of the devastating crash.

According to the article, a Florida driver was driving the wrong way on an expressway around 4:30am one recent Saturday. His Nissan Infiniti was going eastbound in the westbound lane, and he encountered a Honda sedan going the correct way on the road. Neither the Infiniti nor the sedan had an opportunity to swerve, and the cars crashed into each other head-on. There were four women and one man inside the sedan, and all five of them were killed upon impact. The driver of the Infiniti was taken to the hospital, where he is still being treated for his injuries.

Investigations revealed that the driver has not possessed a valid driver’s license for eight years, since he was arrested in 2014 for speeding. According to one report, the driver had been arrested for driving 109 miles per hour, which is significantly above any speed limit on Florida’s expressways. The driver’s license had not been reinstated; thus, he was operating his vehicle illegally when he crashed into the five victims. It is unclear whether alcohol or drugs were involved in the accident, and at the moment, no foul play is suspected.

Dealing with the preventable death of a loved one is one of life’s most challenging burdens. Under Florida’s wrongful death statute, individuals or entities who acted negligently or recklessly in causing another’s death may be liable for the damages they caused. The state’s statute allows the deceased person’s survivors a mechanism to secure compensation for the death of their family members. However, these cases require a comprehensive understanding of the state’s complex evidentiary and procedural laws. An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney can represent family members in their wrongful death claims.

A recent Florida wrongful death appeal highlights the onerous burdens that many plaintiffs encounter when pursuing these cases. The Third District Court of Appeal issued an opinion addressing the dismissal of a wrongful death complaint involving an uninsured motorist. According to the record, the uninsured motorist collided with another motorist, rendering that motorist permanently disabled. After several years of litigation, the motorist died by suicide.

As the personal representative of the motorist’s estate, the motorist’s brother brought a wrongful death lawsuit against some of the motorist’s former attorneys. According to the complaint, the brother alleged that the attorneys’ negligence and legal malpractice were the proximate cause of his brother’s death. Specifically, the plaintiff argued that the attorneys’ failure to render reasonable care and professional skill prevented him from having the ability to pay for treatment and medication and caused him to experience pain and suffering that ultimately led to his suicide.

Water sports and other outdoor recreational activities play a significant role in Florida’s economy and help make our state desirable for tourists and locals alike. Many water sports, especially the motorized type, carry risks inherent to the sport itself. Consumers seeking to participate in a sporting activity facilitated by a private company are usually required to agree to a liability waiver to disclaim the company from legal liability in the event a customer is injured or killed while participating in the activity. An Illinois woman recently died in an accident that occurred on a parasailing excursion that was organized by a Florida company.

According to the facts discussed in a local news report covering the tragedy, the woman and her two sons decided to go parasailing on Memorial Day near Pigeon Key with the company Lighthouse Parasail Inc., based out of Marathon, FL. Parasailing is an activity where one or more people are attached to a parachute, which is tethered to a boat. As the boat accelerates, the parachute fills with air, and the parasailers fly above the water, similar to a large kite being flown from a moving boat. While the mother and her two sons were parasailing, winds picked up and resulted in the cable snapping and the parasailers flying away from the boat without guidance.

Shortly after the parasailers broke free from the boat, the winds pushed them toward the Old Seven Mile Bridge, eventually smashing the three parasailers into a wall portion of the bridge. Bystanders arrived to render aid and free the parasailers from the chute and bridge cables. The mother was pronounced dead at the scene, with the two boys each suffered moderate injuries. While the crash is still under investigation, preliminary reports blame the unexpected weather.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”), motor vehicle accidents are the second leading cause of death for teenagers. Further, the Florida Department of Transportation (“FDOT”) reports that teen-related accidents dramatically increase between the “100 Deadliest Days”, the period between Memorial Day and Labor Day. Approximately seven teenagers die because of motor vehicle crashes every day. These harrowing statistics highlight the importance of equipping teenagers with the skills to operate their vehicles safely.

The CDC reports that the risk of motor vehicle accidents is highest among teens between 16 and 19 years old. This age group is three times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. Data indicates that the accident death rate for male drivers is over two times higher than the fatality rate for similarly aged female motorists. Further, the presence of teenage passengers increases the likelihood of an accident.

Naturally, inexperience is one of the main reasons teenagers are more likely to be involved in a fatal Florida car accident. However, other factors that put teenagers at risk include nighttime and weekend driving, lack of seatbelt use, distracted driving, impairment, and speeding. For instance, national news reports indicated that the Sheriff’s Office charged a 17-year-old driver with vehicular homicide for driving 151 mph in a crash that took the lives of six people. The driver posted videos of himself and asked viewers to guess his speed for a prize. During his escapade, he slammed his BMW into an SUV carrying six people leaving their jobs at a local farm. Further, law enforcement believes the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the accident.

Florida car accidents that occur on interstates and other high-speed roads are especially dangerous, as many drivers fail to realize how speed factors into the likelihood for an accident to occur, as well as the severity of accidents that do occur. Deadly accidents are tragically common on Florida roads, and many could be prevented if all drivers exercise due care when on the road. A recently published local news report discusses an accident that occurred early on New Year’s Eve, which took the life of a young girl and seriously injured several others.

According to the report, the child and her family were traveling in an SUV on Interstate 75 in southwest Florida when their vehicle was struck from behind by another vehicle that was following them closely. After the initial collision, the SUV was crushed into a fuel tanker that was stopped in front of it, resulting in several injuries and the death of the young girl. The news report does not mention if any criminal charges will be filed against anyone involved in the crash, however, the at-fault parties may be criminally and civilly liable for the damages resulting from the crash.

High-speed travel of interstates and highways can be especially dangerous. Two of the most common dangerous and illegal driving behaviors that contribute to highway accidents are traveling with excessive speed and following too closely. Many drivers underestimate the time that it takes to come to a stop when driving at speeds in excess of 60 miles per hour. Factoring in possible distractions as well as reaction time, drivers should leave enough distance between themselves and the next car to allow them to safely stop. Generally, it is reasonable and safe for drivers to leave at least two seconds worth of road between themselves and the next vehicle.

Under Florida law, wrongful death refers to situations where a person’s negligence causes the death. After a successful lawsuit, the court may order the at-fault party to pay damages to the decedent’s close relatives. Damages typically include:

  • Compensation for the survivor’s pain and suffering.
  • Loss of companionship.

After the death of a loved one in an accident, many things may feel out of the family’s control. However, something the loved ones of the deceased can control is whether or not to bring a lawsuit if the accident was caused by another person. These lawsuits are called wrongful death lawsuits, which can be brought in any state. However, states, including Florida, have different requirements for who can bring the lawsuit along with what the parties must allege.

Recently, a Florida man was arrested after a multi-vehicle crash led to fatalities. A man from Miami was traveling west on I-80 and rear-ended another vehicle, which was then hit by another car. In total, the crash involved eight vehicles and caused two fatalities—a father and son who were in the car who was initially rear-ended—and five other people were transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Police indicated the initial driver caused the accident by not paying attention and driving extremely fast; he has been arrested on two counts of motor vehicle homicide.

Many states have specific laws dedicated to bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. In Florida, the Wrongful Death Act governs all wrongful death suits. The purpose of the Wrongful Death Act is to shift the losses when a wrongful death occurs from the deceased’s survivors to the wrongdoer of the act. Because of this, the family of a person killed under these circumstances can bring a lawsuit against the responsible party. However, there are strict requirements that must be met in order for a wrongful death lawsuit to be successful. A lawsuit can only be brought if the death of the person is caused by the wrongful act or negligence of another person, and the accident would have entitled the deceased to bring a personal injury lawsuit if they had not died.

Car accidents are traumatic for those involved, as well as for an accident victim’s loved ones who were not a part of the accident. When someone is killed in a tragic car accident, bringing a lawsuit is not the first thought on the family’s mind. As time progresses, and if they decide that they want to financially recover, the family may be confused about who is permitted to bring the lawsuit. However, Florida law has specific requirements for who is able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit after a loved one has passed away in a car accident.

Recently, a car accident in Miami claimed the lives of a teacher, her husband, and her mother. The teacher, who was driving her mother to her dialysis treatment, was struck by another driver as she was trying to make a turn. Miami-Dade police later indicated that the driver of the second vehicle had been drinking and this likely caused the accident.

In situations like the aforementioned tragedy, it may be confusing to determine who should bring a wrongful death lawsuit. According to Florida law, the lawsuit must be brought by the deceased’s “personal representative” with the intent to obtain compensation for the benefit of the deceased’s “survivors.” A deceased’s “survivors” can include their spouse, children, parents, siblings, and other extended family members. The law also allows other individuals to financially recover from the loss of a loved one if they depended on the deceased for support—either emotionally or financially. Therefore, Florida law provides many family members with the opportunity to sue the accountable party after the loss of a loved one in a car accident.

Losing a loved one is often one of the most painful and traumatic events in an individual’s life. When your loved ones are taken from you suddenly and without warning, however, it can often be even more heart-wrenching. When the loss of a loved one was fully preventable and was the result of another party’s negligence or recklessness, those who are responsible must be held accountable. In these tragic situations, grieving family members can pursue a Florida wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party for compensation.

According to a recent news report, a head-on collision killed two people and left two others injured. Florida Highway Patrol reported that two cars were traveling in opposite directions when a third car got between the other drivers. A Toyota, which was traveling east while a Honda was traveling west were interrupted by a Camaro when it tried to pass the Honda by entering the eastbound lane. To avoid the oncoming Camaro, the Toyota swerved right and landed in the grass shoulder before getting back into the eastbound lane, but it overcorrected and traveled into the westbound lane, where it crashed into the Honda. The driver of the Toyota was pronounced dead at the scene and her passenger was transported to the hospital with significant injuries. The driver of the Honda also suffered significant injuries and was in critical condition following the accident, and her passenger died at the scene.

In Florida, wrongful death claims are governed by the state’s “Right to Action” statute, which states that “when the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person,” the estate, family members, or personal representative of the deceased individual can file a civil suit in court.

Florida’s Workers’ Compensation Law provides workers with benefits if they suffer injuries at work or while in the scope of their employment duties. At first glance, the system appears as a quick and efficient way for Florida employees to obtain benefits for their injuries and return to work. However, the system inherently favors employers because, barring certain exceptions, employees lose their right to bring a common-law personal injury lawsuit against their employer. Exceptions to this rule exist in certain situations, such as if the employer did not maintain appropriate worker’s compensation insurance. Further, an exception applies if the employee suffered injuries because of their employer’s particularly egregious wanton gross negligence or intentional conduct. Finally, workers’ compensation does not protect employers from assaults against their employees.

In many cases, workers’ compensation insurance does not adequately cover all of an employee’s injuries and damages. Although employees may not assert personal injury claims against their employer, they may recover damages from other responsible third-parties. To succeed on a third-party claim, plaintiffs must be able to prove that they had a work-related accident, the third-party owed them a duty of care, they breached that duty, and the plaintiff suffered injuries because of the work-related incident.

For example, a Florida news report recently described a tragic accident at a St. Petersburg Home Depot. A delivery driver suffered fatal injuries when construction materials fell on him at the store. The driver was working as a third-party carrier for a building material company. The U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), the federal entity that ensures safe and healthy working conditions, reported that the incident is under investigation. Additionally, Home Depot commented that they were working with authorities to investigate the accident.

Contact Information