Over 30,000 people die each year in auto accidents across the U.S. with 3,000 of those happening in Florida. When this happens, it’s devastating for the surviving members of the family. Whether the person is a spouse, parent, child or grandparent, if a family member is taken in an auto accident, the loss is traumatic.
If a loved one dies in an auto accident due to someone else’s negligence, a natural question is, who is able to make a claim if the injured person is dead?
If a loved one was killed in a head-on collision in Florida, contact our personal injury team today for a free consultation. RHINO Lawyers is the powerful, results-driven law firm, that takes Insurance Companies and Bullies “head-on!”
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Since a person who has passed can’t file a claim for his or her losses from an auto accident, the Florida law allows the estate of the deceased to file a claim. The estate is the rightful heir of a person’s wealth and property as determined by Florida’s inheritance laws. First in line is the surviving spouse, and then the children, if any.
The claim is based on the loss of the deceased to those in his or her family. Many times, those killed in a car wreck have a spouse and dependent children that counted on support. Also, there is a loss of the person as a spouse, parent or child, and this loss is acutely felt by those left behind.
Making the claim
Florida law spells out what a wrongful death is based on and under what conditions it can be made. Basically, the person or people who are inheriting the estate can recover damages based on the negligence of the at-fault person, and if that negligence resulted in the death of the person, then a wrongful death claim can be made.
Conduct that Leads to a Wrongful Death
There is a wide range of negligent actions that can lead to a wrongful death claim. For each of these, the at-fault person must be considered to have been negligent and the act caused the death of the victim:
- Driving while Impaired
- Wrong-Way Driving
- Rear-end collisions
- Head-on collisions
- Reckless driving
Types of Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
Florida law states the types of damages that can be claimed. In a typical claim for damages, the inured person claims the losses he or she incurred because of the negligence of the at-fault person. However, in a wrongful death claim, damages can be based on the losses sustained by both the estate and the individuals affected by the loss. These damages are:
- Medical bills of the deceased, if any.
- Funeral expenses of the decedent.
- Pain and suffering of the deceased, if applicable.
- Loss of future income
- Spousal Loss of companionship, consortium.
- Parental loss of companionship (children’s relationship with deceased parents).
- Mental/Emotional pain and suffering of the children.
When can a Claim be Made?
After the victim dies, the estate and survivors have two years to file a claim with the court. Similar to other cases based on negligence, before filing with the court, a settlement can be made with the insurance company. But if the case is not settled within two years, then the claim needs to be filed with the court.
Many surviving members wonder if hiring an attorney is required in a wrongful death case. It doesn’t require one in most cases, but the wrongful death laws can be complicated. So the best course of action is to talk to an attorney who understands Florida’s wrongful death laws.
Contact a Tampa Car Accident Attorney Today
Even if you don’t hire an attorney, you need to speak to one that knows the law and can evaluate your case. Talk to an auto accident attorney at the RHINO Lawyers today. Our personal injury team is ready to start working for you to get you the compensation you deserve.