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.
If the deceased’s family is successful in the wrongful death lawsuit, a jury will award them monetary damages. These damages may include the lost value of the deceased’s “support and services.” According to the Wrongful Death Act, lost support and services may involve the amount of the deceased’s probable net income along with the deceased’s relationship to the family member. Additionally, the deceased’s spouse and minor children can be awarded damages for the loss of companionship and for mental pain and suffering arising from the loss. As evidenced by the broad nature of these definitions—and how it dramatically depends on the deceased’s relationship to his loved ones—a jury award in a wrongful death lawsuit will highly vary.
Because wrongful death lawsuits can often be extremely complicated—and it is highly emotional for the plaintiffs—individuals that are considering a wrongful death lawsuit should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Attorney
If you or a loved one has been in a Florida car accident, contact the experienced attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada for assistance. We understand how traumatic a car accident can be; our attorneys will work diligently on your behalf and ensure your claim is handled properly and efficiently. To schedule a free, no-commitment consultation, give one of our attorneys a call at 877-448-8585.