When someone else drives in a highly reckless or careless manner, they may cause a crash that leads to fatal injuries. In those circumstances, an accident victim’s surviving family members can collect wrongful death damages from the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Although no amount of money can ever compensate for a lost family member, it can help to bring about a sense of closure, fairness, and justice for surviving relatives.
If you lost a loved one in a car accident resulting from another driver’s negligence, you should speak to a Tampa wrongful death attorney immediately.
Your lawyer can first meet with you to discuss your accident circumstances, review police reports and other documentation, and determine your eligibility for filing a wrongful death claim (as the decedent’s personal representative) for various monetary damages.
If you can move forward, your lawyer can file the claim on your behalf with the appropriate insurance company and pursue the maximum amount of financial compensation you deserve to recover.
If the insurance company will not offer you reasonable compensation for your loved one’s untimely death, your lawyer can look at some litigation options and can file a wrongful death lawsuit in the court system on your behalf.
Your attorney will aggressively advocate for your legal interests and work to pursue the maximum amount of monetary compensation you deserve.
Fatal car crashes usually result from the negligence and carelessness of other drivers. Drivers may behave carelessly in various ways, but road rageand reckless driving are common examples.
Many drivers are in a hurry to get ahead of other traffic. To do so, they will resort to almost any activity, including speeding, tailgating, weaving around traffic, and cutting other vehicles off in traffic. In the process, an angry driver may negligently cause a severe accident and fatal injuries.
Fatal car accidents may also happen when drivers violate standard traffic laws, such as speeding, failing to use rear-view and side-view mirrors, and failing to give other vehicles the right of way at the appropriate times. When drivers commit serious traffic violations, such as by running a red light or stop sign, they may strike an oncoming vehicle, causing the occupants to spersonal injury claimuffer fatal injuries.
Fatal car accidents may also result from distracted driving. With the plethora of electronic devices available to drivers, it is easy for a driver to become distracted while behind the wheel.
For example, a driver may become distracted by various electronic devices, including cell phones, smartwatches, and GPS navigation systems. Drivers may also become distracted when they listen to loud music or engage in horseplay with vehicle passengers.
Unfortunately, when drivers fail to observe the road, they might fail to see an approaching pedestrian or vehicle, causing a crash that leads to fatalities.
Fatal car crashes may also occur when a driver becomes fatigued while behind the wheel. This is especially common with commercial truck drivers when trucking companies offer their drivers financial incentives to transport their cargo to its final destination ahead of schedule.
These drivers often resort to stimulant drugs to try and keep themselves awake for many hours. However, if a driver instead becomes fatigued and falls asleep at the wheel, they may lose control of their vehicle, causing a fatal traffic accident.
Finally, some fatal car accidents happen when people drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol. These substances can seriously alter a driver’s mindset and make safe driving impossible.
For example, alcohol intoxication may cause a driver to become dazed and confused, limiting their concentration abilities and reaction time. Consequently, an intoxicated driver may be unable to see or appreciate an oncoming vehicle or fail to see it altogether, causing a fatal car crash.
Passenger vehicle drivers are legally intoxicated if they have a blood alcohol concentration, or BAC, of at least 0.08 percent. However, commercial truck drivers and underage drivers must follow far stricter legal standards.
If a police officer arrests a driver for driving under the influence, the driver may face various criminal penalties, including fines or jail time. Moreover, if intoxication causes a fatal traffic accident, they can face significant civil liability to surviving family members. They may have to pay monetary compensation, through their insurance company, as part of a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
In no-fault insurance states like Florida, accident victims typically have to turn to their own insurance company to file a Personal Injury Protection (PIP) claim after suffering injuries in a traffic accident. Those damages then compensate accident victims for a portion of their medical bills, lost income, and other out-of-pocket costs, up to a maximum of $10,000.
However, if an accident victim suffers permanent or disabling injuries, they can file a third-party personal injury claim with the responsible driver’s insurance company. If the accident victim suffers fatal injuries, then their estate’s personal representative can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. Family members eligible to collect wrongful death damages include surviving spouses, parents, and children.
To recover monetary compensation in a wrongful death claim, the claimant must establish their legal burden of proof.
First, they must show that the other driver acted unreasonably under the circumstances and committed one or more wrongful or negligent acts. For example, the other driver might have been speeding, exhibiting road rage, or driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Next, the wrongful death claimant must demonstrate that as a direct result of the other driver’s negligence, the car accident and the fatal injuries occurred. To prove these legal elements, a wrongful death claimant’s lawyer can retain an accident reconstructionist who can review police reports, witness statements, and other documentation to conclude how the accident occurred and who caused it.
An accident reconstructionist can also serve as an expert in court – or at a discovery deposition if the insurance company is disputing fault or liability for the accident.
A skilled and compassionate wrongful death attorney can help you satisfy your legal burden of proof to recover the wrongful death compensation you deserve.
To maximize the wrongful death compensation that you recover as part of your claim or lawsuit, you should have experienced legal counsel on your side as early on in the process as possible. Your attorney can aggressively negotiate with insurance company representatives throughout your case.
Insurance companies have minimal incentive to offer you fair monetary damages, even in cases where there is no dispute about fault or liability. In fact, insurance companies will do everything to undermine a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. They might even allege that the deceased individual somehow caused or contributed to their own car accident.
It often takes a strong and aggressive wrongful death attorney to negotiate for fair settlement compensation in a claim or lawsuit. If the insurance company refuses to make a reasonable settlement offer in your case, your lawyer can threaten them with litigation or directly file a lawsuit in court, if necessary. Your attorney can then help you litigate your wrongful death case to an efficient resolution.
Sometimes, it may become necessary for your attorney to litigate your wrongful death claim in court. During litigation, the parties may continue their settlement negotiations, and the case can still settle long before a trial date ever occurs. Also, during litigation, the parties will typically answer one another’s written Interrogatories and participate in discovery depositions.
During a discovery deposition, the defense attorney may depose the personal representative for the deceased individual’s estate to gather additional information about the case. The parties may also need to participate in one or more settlement conferences with the court.
If the case does not resolve during litigation, the parties may take their case to a civil jury trial, when a jury will hear all of the evidence and decide the amount of wrongful death damages to award in the case, if any.
A compassionate wrongful death lawyer in your area can help you make intelligent decisions about your case, including whether to accept a pending settlement offer from the insurance company or take your case to a litigation proceeding.
As part of a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, the claimant may be eligible to recover various monetary damages.
First, the claimant can recover the cost of the deceased individual’s burial and funeral expenses. A claimant can also pursue compensation for the loss of the deceased individual’s present and future care, comfort, and companionship.
If surviving family members depended on the deceased individual for income, the claimant can pursue monetary recovery for the decedent’s future lost earnings.
Finally, the claimant can recover financial compensation for the accident victim’s medical expenses up until the time of their death, as well as for the pain and suffering the deceased individual experienced up until their untimely death.
A knowledgeable wrongful death attorney can identify all the damages you can recover as part of your wrongful death claim or lawsuit. Your attorney can then set about helping you recover those damages through aggressive settlement negotiations – or by pursuing litigation in the court system on your behalf.
If you lost a family member in a recent car accident, time is of the essence. Therefore, you should retain a skilled wrongful death attorney to represent you as quickly as possible in your case.
Losing a loved one is a devastating experience for a family. While you focus on healing, your lawyer can enter an appearance on your behalf and help you pursue the wrongful death damages you and your family members deserve promptly and efficiently.
After such a tragic event in your family, the idea of pursuing the legal process might seem overwhelming. If you begin by finding the right wrongful death lawyer, they can handle everything, and you do not have to worry about navigating the civil justice system. In a free consultation, a lawyer can advise you of your options, so you know what to expect for compensation.
Never wait to begin seeking the justice and financial support your family deserves after a preventable tragedy. Schedule a no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with a law firm that handles wrongful death cases today.
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