What Should I Do After a Car Wreck Death in Fort Myers?

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What Should I Do After a Car Wreck Death in Fort Myers?

Losing a loved one from one moment to the next in a tragic car accident is a life-changing experience that can leave a family emotionally and financially devastated. Knowing what you should do after a death from a car wreck in Fort Myers could be vital for rebuilding your life after a painful and heartbreaking loss. 

If someone else caused the accident and passing of your loved one, you could be entitled to damages such as medical bills, pain and suffering, loss of benefits, and others. Morgan & Morgan’s determined and compassionate wrongful death lawyers can help you navigate the legal system and fight for what you deserve. Contact us today to discover for free how you could get justice and compensation. 

What to Do After A Car Wreck Death

An unexpected death in the family can be a huge shock and leave you paralyzed with grief. However, if the accident was avoidable and happened due to another party’s fault, you could be entitled to damages. Knowing which steps to take can protect your right to compensation. Consider taking action as soon as you can. The following steps can be a good start for protecting your rights:

  • Contact a wrongful death lawyer 
  • Gather evidence of the crash, such as the police report
  • Collect and organize proof of your damages 

One of our seasoned wrongful death attorneys can walk you through your options and determine the best course of action. 

Fort Myers Fatal Car Accidents 

Fatal traffic accidents are on the rise in the Fort Myers area. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV), Lee County saw 109 fatalities from all types of motor vehicle crashes in 2020. Despite pandemic-related restrictions and more individuals working from home, the figures show a marked increase from 2019. 

Causes of Fatal Car Accidents

While there can be various causes for accidents, driver error or negligence is often identified as a reason for fatal crashes. Examples of negligent driving can include:

Distracted Driving 

Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that distracted driving accounted for 3,142 traffic fatalities in 2019. Distracted driving does not only encompass texting while driving but can also include:

  • Eating or drinking
  • Grooming while driving
  • Playing loud music
  • Reaching for something on the floor
  • Interacting with passengers in the back

Driving Intoxicated

Driving drunk or under the influence of drugs can have catastrophic consequences. According to the NHTSA, one individual dies in an alcohol-related crash in the U.S. every 52 minutes. If an impaired driver caused your loved one’s accident and death, you could sue and recover damages.

Excessive Speeding

Speeding kills. Figures from the NHTSA show that 9,478 persons died in accidents involving speeding in 2019 alone. If another driver was driving over the posted speed limit when the crash occurred, you could have legal recourse. It is important to note that an individual can also be guilty of speeding when they drive within the posted speed limit but too fast for weather or road conditions. 

Poor Road Construction or Vehicle Defects Cause Fatal Crashes

Not all fatal accidents occur due to another person’s reckless or negligent driving. If your loved one passed away in an accident that happened due to a road or vehicle defect, you could also have legal recourse and potentially sue the at-fault party. You could have a case against a car manufacturer or local government entity, for example. 
An attorney from our firm can investigate your case thoroughly and determine all potentially liable parties, which could provide you with various avenues for recovering damages.

Liability in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit when a family member is killed in a car crash can help the family recover damages. Wrongful death generally describes an avoidable accident and death that occurred due to another’s carelessness, recklessness, or deliberate action.

To have a chance at recovering compensation in a lawsuit, the family of the deceased must prove the responsible party’s negligence. Legally, they have to prove the following elements of a wrongful death lawsuit with the appropriate evidence: 

Duty of care – the at-fault party owed the decedent a duty of care. All motor vehicle drivers and road users have a duty of care towards others and must act reasonably when in control of a vehicle.

Breach of duty – the at-fault party breached their duty, for example, by violating road laws.

Causation – the fatal car crash occurred due to the breach of duty.

Damages – surviving family members suffered damages arising from the death of their loved one, such as medical bills, emotional suffering, loss of income, and others.

Proving fault and liability in wrongful death car crashes can be tricky, especially if there are several potential at-fault parties or the decedent had a degree of fault in the accident. However, one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys could analyze your case, collect vital evidence, and help prove liability. 

You Could Recover Compensation

Generally, the following close family members of the car wreck victim could receive damages with a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The surviving spouse
  • Minor children
  • Parents of a minor child 
  • Others suffering losses due to the death of the victim

Damages Recoverable

According to Florida law, survivors could be entitled to damages for loss of potential earnings of the deceased as well as loss of companionship, instruction, and guidance.
Damages you could recover will vary on your specific case and can include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical costs before death
  • Pain and suffering of the decedent before passing
  • Emotional distress of surviving family members
  • Loss of the deceased’s income and future earning capacity 
  • Loss of benefits from the deceased
  • Loss of companionship for the spouse
  • Loss of parental guidance for any minor children

Filing a Car Wreck Death Lawsuit

In Florida, a representative of the victim’s estate, named in the estate plan, is generally responsible for filing the lawsuit. If the decedent did not have a will, the court typically appoints the surviving spouse to represent the estate. The representative then goes ahead and files the claim on behalf of all other close family members who have incurred damages due to the death of the victim. 

Florida Statute of Limitations

If you are considering filing a lawsuit after a car wreck death in Fort Myers, you should be aware that the time for doing so is generally limited. As per Florida Statute section 95.11, family members of car wreck victims only have two years in general to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Fort Myers. 

However, there are exceptions to the statute that could, in certain circumstances, shorten or lengthen the time you have available for initiating legal action. If you are unsure what you should do after a death in a car wreck in Fort Myers, consider contacting an attorney. A wrongful death lawyer from our law firm can advise you comprehensively and ensure that your lawsuit is filed within the applicable deadlines.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Morgan & Morgan

  • Could I Sue for Emotional Distress if My Loved One Died?

    Generally, yes, you could sue for emotional distress in a car wreck death lawsuit if you are a close relative of the deceased victim. Immediate relations, such as a spouse, child, or parent, could be entitled to several damages, including for mental distress. If you suffered significant emotional trauma due to the untimely death of your loved one, you could receive compensation for psychological treatment costs, medication expenses, and other needs. 

  • How Does an Attorney Calculate the Worth of My Case?

    The worth a wrongful death case can be affected by numerous variables, including but not limited to: 

    • The victim’s age at the time of death
    • The victim’s profession
    • The deceased’s income and future earning potential
    • The egregiousness of the at-fault party’s conduct
    • Whether the deceased had a degree of fault in the auto accident

    A wrongful death attorney will also calculate your damages, such as medical bills, transportation costs, funeral expenses, and others, to arrive at the approximate value of your claim. 

  • Do I Have to Go to Court for a Wrongful Death Claim?

    According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), most civil lawsuits, including wrongful death cases, never go to trial and are instead resolved with an out-of-court settlement between the parties. Out-of-court settlements can have numerous advantages over trials, including:

    • A generally faster resolution
    • A guaranteed payout for survivors
    • Privacy 

    However, as with any lawsuit filed, a wrongful death case could proceed to court and trial. Those seeking compensation should be prepared even if the chances of a case reaching trial are relatively slim. Working with an experienced wrongful death attorney can be advantageous when it comes to negotiating a fair out-of-court settlement or representing you aggressively at trial. 

  • How Do I Choose the Best Wrongful Death Attorney?

    Choosing quality legal representation can help to achieve the best possible outcome of your wrongful death case. Factors to consider when choosing an attorney can include: 

    Resources of the Attorney or Law Firm

    Pursuing a wrongful death claim can be extremely expensive and lengthy. A wrongful death attorney or law firm must have the resources to shoulder costs for gathering evidence, providing expert witnesses, and other potential demands of a suit. Size matters when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits. Morgan & Morgan has the resources to fight your case, no matter how long it might take.

    Experience and Track Record

    Just as you might be nervous about having major dental work done by a newly qualified dentist, you are perhaps justified to be wary of a newly qualified attorney who might never have handled a case at trial before. Make sure the attorney you consider has trial experience and has litigated wrongful death car accident claims successfully. 

    Tenacity and Dedication

    It can be in your best interests to work with an attorney who deals mostly with wrongful death claims. They should also be able to offer you the dedication, commitment, and personal attention you deserve. Losing a loved one is crushing. You will want to work with an attorney who understands what you are facing and has the legal knowledge to expertly handle your case. A tenacious and dedicated attorney will be prepared to fight tooth and nail for the settlement you need and deserve.

    Results for Clients

    Seek out an attorney or law firm that never settles for less and has a reputation for achieving maximum recovery for clients. Car wreck death lawsuits typically involve dealing with insurance companies who can have teams of skilled defense attorneys seeking to minimize or deny claims. You need a lawyer with a track record of achieving outstanding results for clients. Morgan & Morgan never settles for less. Our attorneys fight vigorously for the rights of victims.

  • How Do I Pay a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

    In wrongful death cases, similar to other personal injury claims, clients usually do not pay upfront attorney’s fees such as a retainer or an hourly rate. Instead, the attorney’s fee is typically a percentage of the amount recovered by the client in a wrongful death lawsuit. However, not all law firms work with a so-called “contingency” arrangement. Be sure to ask when you are looking to hire an attorney. 

    Morgan & Morgan will never send you a bill. You don’t pay a dime unless we win and you recover compensation. 

  • Morgan & Morgan Can Help You Get Justice

    When your loved one dies in a car wreck in Fort Myers, you may not know what you should do or where to turn for advice. Let us help to ease your burden during this painful and difficult time. Our experienced wrongful death attorneys can be by your side every step of the way and could help you recover what you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation with our compassionate legal team.

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