Death from Car Wreck in Florida: What Should I Do
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What Should I Do After a Car Wreck Death in Florida?
If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death accident, it’s completely normal and expected to feel alone and even helpless. Wrongful death accidents are unfortunately all too common and can happen at any time. If you are grieving the loss of your loved one, it is essential that you act quickly so that damages can be assessed and wrongful death claims pursued as soon as possible.
The attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have decades of experience handling wrongful death cases, and you can be confident that they will handle yours with care, compassion, competence, and dedication. Additionally, we take all of our cases on a contingency fee basis, so you can be sure that if we agree to take on your claim, we genuinely believe we can win. When you hire Morgan & Morgan, you’re never alone. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
Death From Car Wreck in Florida: What Should I Do?
If you lost a loved one as a result of a car accident, there are several steps you should take, including the following:
Report the Accident
If you were in the accident with your loved one, the first thing you should do is call the police and file an accident report. It’s important to have a record of what happened. When the police arrive at the scene, they may speak with witnesses or even take photos of the scene. If you weren’t there when the accident took place and you found out about it after the fact, your next steps will depend on how you received the information. If you heard about the accident from the police, a report was probably already filed. However, you should request a copy of the accident report right away so you can have a documented record of what took place. If you heard about the accident from a friend and you aren’t sure if a police report was filed, call right away to inquire, and file a report if it hasn’t been done already.
It’s understandable that the first thing on your mind isn’t going to be lawsuits and photos after you’ve been in a tragic and fatal accident. However, taking these steps is so crucial in helping to make sure that you get the justice you and your family deserve. Nothing will bring back your loved one, but if someone else’s negligence or carelessness caused the accident, you deserve to be compensated, and they should be held accountable. It’s important to take photos of the scene of the accident, including any and all cars involved, record any property damage, the damage to your vehicle or other people’s vehicles, and anything else on the scene that you think might be relevant to showing whose fault the accident was.
Seek Medical Treatment if Necessary
If you were in an accident severe enough to cause the death of another person, you should seek medical treatment right away, even if you don’t believe you are injured. You could be suffering from internal injuries or other injuries that don’t show up immediately. Additionally, seeking medical attention and having medical and treatment records will be helpful if you decide to go forward with a lawsuit.
Another step you should take as soon as you feel well enough is to take notes about the car accident. Jot down what you remember – what happened, how you were feeling, what caused the accident, and anything else at all you remember from right before, during, or after the accident. This is a traumatic experience, and trauma can have an impact on a person’s memory. While you might think you’ll remember everything clearly, because of the gravity of the situation, this often isn’t the case. In the event that you decide to go forward with a lawsuit, having notes to look back on and review can help you recall the information in the most accurate way possible when in court or speaking with your lawyer.
Do NOT Speak With the Other Driver(s)
While it might be tempting to speak with other people involved in the accident, especially someone whose fault you believe it is, avoid this at all costs. Anything you say and do after the accident could end up being used against you during a trial or negotiations. Tensions are high, adrenaline is rushing, and it’s in your best interest to wait until you speak with an attorney before talking to anyone else involved in the crash.
Do NOT Take Responsibility for Anything
Even if you believe the accident was partially your fault, it’s a good idea not to say anything to anyone about it. Again, whatever you say after the accident could be used against you if you decide to file a lawsuit, and it could limit your compensation. You probably aren’t in a proper mental state to truly determine if the accident was your fault or not at this point, so it’s better to just not say anything at all regarding fault.
Consult With an Attorney
One of the first things you should do after you’ve assessed the accident and received medical treatment is to contact an attorney. Don’t be tempted to reach out to the insurance company and accept a settlement offer. The goal of an insurance company is always going to be to pay out the least amount of money possible and to spend the least amount of time as they can on your case. When something as serious as the passing of a loved one occurs during a car accident, a lawyer is absolutely essential. Make sure you speak with an attorney or firm who is specifically experienced in handling wrongful death cases as a result of a car accident.
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Death From Car Wreck in Florida: What Should I Do - FAQ
What Is the Statute of Limitations?
In Florida, wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the date of the death. If you’re also filing a suit for property damages and other injuries that you personally sustained, the statute of limitations for those claims is two years from the date of the accident. There are a few exceptions, including the following:
- If you are injured but don’t realize the injury until a later date, it’s possible that the statute of limitations would be extended, based on what is referred to as the “discovery rule.”
- If you or someone else was injured in the crash, but the injured party is unable to file a lawsuit due to catastrophic injuries they suffered, the deadline to file the claim could be extended for up to seven years in some cases.
There may be other circumstances in which the statute of limitations could be extended or shortened, so it’s important to contact an experienced attorney right away. You want to ensure that you don’t miss out on receiving the compensation you’re legally entitled to as a result of missing a deadline. You don’t want to get the important filing dates confused.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
In Florida, surviving family members are permitted to file a wrongful death claim, including parents, spouses, and children. Additionally, blood relatives or adoptive siblings who in any way depended on the decedent for support can also file a wrongful death claim.
What Kind of Damages Can I Be Awarded?
In Florida, there are different types of damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit. The most common types of damages paid out in a wrongful death claim in Florida include the following:
- Mental pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Medical expenses
- Funeral/burial expenses
- Loss of support that the decedent provided to the family
- Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings
- The value of future earnings and other benefits that the decedent would have likely earned throughout their lifetime
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid directly by the estate
What Are the Elements in Wrongful Death?
In order to be successful in a wrongful death claim, you have to prove the following:
- The defendant caused the death of the decedent, either in whole or in part;
- The death occurred as a direct result of the defendant’s negligent conduct;
- The death has affected you or other loved ones/surviving family members who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim; and
- The death resulted in monetary damages.
Morgan & Morgan Is Here for You
If you’ve lost a loved one in a car accident, we know how devastating that can be. At Morgan & Morgan, we want to do everything in our power to make this situation as easy as possible for you. While filing a lawsuit is probably not the first thing on your mind, it’s essential to think about all of the pain and suffering the person responsible has caused you. Additionally, there are very real expenses—medical expenses, lost earnings, and much more—that you will have to make up for and are entitled to. At Morgan & Morgan, we will make sure you get everything you deserve. We have recovered more than $15 billion dollars for our clients. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.