Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit after a Florida DUI Accident

South Florida drunk and impaired driving accidents are a far-too-common occurrence. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (“NHTSA”), millions of people choose to drive while under the influence of drugs and alcohol each year. Impaired driving contributes to over 800 deaths in Florida every year and often claims the lives of the most vulnerable, such as children and older adults. These deaths are predictable and preventable, yet people continue to engage in this deadly conduct.

In Florida, those who suffer injuries or lose a loved one because of another driver’s negligence may file a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit against the culpable parties. In addition to the negligent impaired driver, victims may file cases against the vendor who served alcohol under Fla. Statutes section 768.125, commonly known as the Dram Shop Law.

A wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate in tragic cases where the victim succumbs to their injuries. For instance, local news reports recently described a deadly Florida DUI involving a WWE Hall of Famer. The driver rear-ended a 75-year-old driver who was stopped at a traffic light. Emergency responders transported the 75-year-old victim to a hospital, where he succumbed to injuries. Police reported that the driver was under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. Toxicology reports revealed that her blood-alcohol level was more than 3.5 times the legal limit. Authorities charged the driver with DUI causing death, causing death while operating a vehicle with a suspended or revoked license, DUI causing injury to a person, and three counts of DUI property damage.

Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, Fla. Statutes 768.16, provides that a decedent’s estate representative may pursue a wrongful death claim on behalf of the victim’s survivors. These survivors typically include the individual’s spouse, children, parents, and other financially dependent relatives.

These claims work to compensate the family for the damages they suffered because of their loved one’s death. Damages in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit include compensation for :

  • Loss of the decedent’s financial support and services;
  • Loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection;
  • Loss of parental guidance;
  • Mental anguish resulting from the victim’s death; and
  • Reasonable funeral, burial, and medical expenses that a survivor paid.

These cases differ from Florida’s survival actions, as survival claims allow the family to continue a claim that the victim could have pursued while alive. In contrast to a wrongful death claim, a survival claim does not consider the impact of the person’s death on their family members.

Typically, Florida law does not permit a decedent’s estate to recover both wrongful death and survival action damages for the same injury. Thus, victims should consult with an attorney to determine the best course of action after a Florida drunk driving accident.

Contact a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney

If you or someone you love has been hurt or fatally injured in a Florida accident, contact the injury attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada. The prestigious attorneys on our team have extensive experience successfully resolving complex cases on behalf of Florida injury victims. In addition to Florida wrongful death claims, our firm handles cases involving admiralty and maritime law, construction accidents, dangerous and defective product claims, medical malpractice, and premises liability cases. Our lawyers maintain an up-to-date, comprehensive understanding of the various laws that govern Florida accident cases. With our experience, tools, and resources, we have secured significant amounts of compensation on behalf of our clients. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with a Florida wrongful death attorney on our team.


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