Presenting a Wrongful Death Claim for a Florida Auto Accident

January 11, 2019

It was only three days into the New Year when emergency calls rang out across Alachua County. It had happened again. Another fiery crash on Interstate-75 had accounted for multiple deaths as unexpected motorists made their way south on one of America's most dangerous highways.

Although there are many roads in the Sunshine State that do not have the greatest safety record, I-75 averages 47.2 fatalities per 100 miles of pavement, which still trails Interstate-4 with 1.25 fatalities per mile. However, none of the roadway statistics changes the reality of losing a loved one in a fatal accident, or the grief and uncertainty felt by surviving family members.

Florida statutes govern wrongful death claims that occur anywhere in the state. Unlike many tort doctrines, wrongful death did not exist as common law. Early legal actions in the United States followed the logic that once a victim died the case died with them. Since statutory causes of wrongful death are less open to interpretation by the court system, this is an important legal distinction; and Florida's Wrongful Death Act dictates who is entitled to bring a claim for wrongful death as well as who qualifies as a survivor. It is not surprising that wrongful death claims often closely follow negligence cases, such as auto accidents or large trucking accidents.

Investigating, documenting, presenting, representing, and settling a wrongful death case requires considerable resources and experience. Survivors of the person(s) who died can bring a claim against an at-fault driver, at-fault vehicle owner, any corporate owner or employer of an at-fault driver, underinsured or uninsured motorist coverage, vehicle maintenance negligence, claims against a manufacturer, and product liability claims as well as other less-obvious sources. Damages may include reimbursements for funeral and medical expenses, payment for loss support and services, lost net accumulations for the deceased's estate, emotional pain and suffering for those who qualify, and other damages depending upon the specific variables.

In the wake of a media spectacle ignited by a tragic accident on a Florida roadway, are the real-world personal injury cases that result from wrongful death. Since this blog merely touches on the tip of the iceberg, it is easy to see how complex the post-accident legalities are that surviving family members must face. If someone in your family was a victim of wrongful death, contact a personal injury attorney at Schackow & Mercadante to discuss the details of your claim.

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