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.
The amount and type of damages a family member may obtain also depends on their relation to the deceased. For example, family members can financially recover the value of lost support and services of the deceased; however, in evaluating the loss of support and services, the jury must consider the individual’s relationship to the deceased. While it is difficult to predict how much a jury will award, individuals with a closer family relation—like a spouse or child—are likely to be awarded more damages than an extended family member. Additionally, spouses and minor children are able to obtain damages for the loss of the deceased’s companionship and protection. If the deceased does not have a surviving spouse, then adult children are able to obtain damages under this category too.
Despite being broad, the Florida wrongful death statutes are complex in who can bring a lawsuit and obtain damages; therefore, individuals thinking of bringing a suit should contact an experienced personal injury attorney.
Contact a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer
If you or a loved one was recently injured or killed in a Florida car accident, contact the attorneys at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada for assistance. Our lawyers have decades of experience fighting on behalf of families as they financially and emotionally recover from the tragic loss of a family member. We will help you to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation, give us a call at 877-448-8585.