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What Should I Do After a Car Wreck Death in Orlando?
Losing a loved one suddenly in a car wreck can be devastating and heartbreaking. Unfortunately, the unexpected loss of a family member can also lead to financial hardship. While a lawsuit against the responsible party cannot bring back a loved one, it can potentially help to ease the financial burden for surviving family members.
We understand that filing a lawsuit is probably the furthest thing on your mind after the shock of losing your loved one. However, if someone else is responsible for the crash, you could be entitled to damages such as medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of income from the deceased. Our compassionate attorneys can help you understand what you should do after a car wreck death in Orlando. Contact us today to determine whether you have a case.
Your Next Best Steps After a Car Wreck Death
Knowing what to do after a member of your family dies in a car crash in Orlando can be essential for protecting your legal rights. Gathering evidence about the crash as soon as possible and speaking to a lawyer can be crucial after suffering your loved one’s loss due to a tragic car accident.
Survivors of an individual that perished in a car accident should gather evidence that could be useful for recovering compensation from the at-fault party later on. Evidence you could collect:
- Photographs of the accident scene
- The police report
- Your loved one’s medical reports and bills
An attorney can help you gather evidence for proving another’s negligence and your damages in connection with your loved one’s accident, such as hospital bills and other expenses.
Take Responsibility for Your Loved One’s Estate
Someone in your family will need to manage your loved one’s estate and financial affairs, such as bills, assets, and debts, among other responsibilities. Your loved one may or may not have a will assigning a specific person as the representative of their estate, which could be the spouse, a close relative, or a trusted friend. Probate court gives the representative of the estate, also called “executor,” the power to handle your loved one’s financial and legal affairs for the time being.
Notify the Deceased’s Car Insurance Company
If an individual dies in an Orlando car wreck, their close family is generally entitled to $5,000 in no-fault death benefits. The benefit is intended to help cover funeral costs and other expenses arising after a fatal accident. If the deceased carried no-fault personal injury protection insurance (PIP), their insurer would pay death benefits to the survivors following the accident.
If your loved one did not have PIP or the damages far exceed the coverage limit, the at-fault party’s insurance is generally responsible and should compensate the victim’s family. However, after a car wreck death in Orlando, you should speak to one of our attorneys to protect your legal rights and prevent the at-fault insurer from potentially taking advantage of you.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer
Handling your loved one’s estate or dealing with other details of a car wreck death can feel stressful and complicated. Moreover, if your loved one died in a car crash that occurred due to another’s fault, you need to know your legal options. If your relative passed away in a car wreck in Orlando, reach out to our experienced attorneys for help, as you could potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Losing a close relative leaves a hole that no financial compensation could ever come close to filling. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), losing a loved one suddenly can have devastating consequences on the surviving relatives’ mental and physical well-being.
However, you could have legal recourse. According to Florida Statutes section 768.19, when a “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person”, the at-fault party could be liable, “notwithstanding the death of the person injured”. In other words, if another party caused your loved one’s death recklessly or carelessly in a car accident in Orlando, you could file a wrongful death lawsuit in a Florida court and pursue damages.
Who Is Responsible for Your Loved One’s Death?
A relative’s fatal car accident can potentially leave you with astronomical medical bills as well as other damages, such as loss of income and benefits from the decedent. Proving another’s responsibility for the accident could allow you to recover compensation.
Negligence in Fatal Car Accidents
Orlando is well known for its many road construction sites, constant congestion, and daily car accidents. According to City Data, there were 44 fatalities in traffic accidents in Orlando in 2019 alone.
Figures from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show that almost all motor vehicle accidents are the result of driver error or negligence. Accidents can happen due to a variety of drivers’ negligent behaviors, such as:
- Drinking and driving
- Racing other cars
- Distracted driving
- Fatigued driving
- Failing to observe road laws
- Ignoring traffic lights or traffic signals
- Reckless and dangerous driving
However, there could be other or additional defendants in fatal accidents. Car defects, for example, could cause single-car accidents or multiple-car crashes. A bad road design or inadequate road maintenance and repair could also be responsible for your loved one’s death. A wrongful death attorney can analyze your loved one’s accident fully and determine all liable parties, which could include a car manufacturer and others.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case
Proving a wrongful death case can be challenging, depending on the complexity of the accident and the number of parties involved. An attorney can establish that a wrongful death occurred by proving the following four elements:
1. Duty of Care
The first step in a claim is proving that the defendant had a duty of care towards the victim. All road users have a duty of care towards others and must act reasonably when operating a vehicle on the road. Motorists must follow road laws and drive with due care and attention.
2. Breach of Duty
Plaintiffs, those bringing the lawsuit, have to prove that a breach of duty happened. In wrongful death cases, breach of duty can refer to any careless, reckless, or negligent action of the defendant(s). This can include a manufacturer’s negligence in selling a defective car or another driver’s recklessness when running a red light, for example.
To recover damages, a plaintiff and their attorney must prove, with the relevant evidence, that the victim’s accident and death occurred directly as a result of the defendant’s breach of duty.
To prove a wrongful death case, the plaintiffs will have to show that damages occurred due to the death of the victim. Such damages can include medical and funeral expenses and others.
A wrongful death attorney can gather the appropriate evidence proving negligence, provide expert witnesses, and build a comprehensive case against the defendant.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida
Only specific individuals may file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida. Typically, the person filing the suit is the personal representative of the decedent or an individual named in the will. The beneficiaries can include the spouse, parents, or children of the deceased. However, in some circumstances, others may be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit, including financial dependents or individuals who paid healthcare expenses for the victim.
The Time Limit to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida
Time can be of the essence when it comes to pursuing compensation after a car wreck death in Orlando. According to Florida’s Statutes section 95.11, a wrongful death lawsuit should generally be filed within two years from the date of death.
Taking legal action may not be a priority after losing a loved one suddenly in a tragic accident. However, consider seeking legal advice as soon as possible, as waiting too long could potentially prevent you from recovering your due.
How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Help After a Car Wreck Death
Morgan & Morgan’s experienced and determined wrongful death attorneys can handle your case from beginning to end, leaving no stone unturned in fighting for what you and your family deserve.
Wrongful death cases can be tricky to prove. However, our attorneys can assess your accident and help you navigate the legal process by:
- Investigating your claim
- Gathering evidence to prove negligence
- Proving your damages
- Building a comprehensive case against the at-fault party pr parties
- Negotiating with insurance companies
- Representing you aggressively at trial and fighting vigorously for fair compensation
A wrongful death attorney can be your advocate, helping you through a stressful and upsetting time and fighting for what you deserve and need to put your life together after a tragic and unexpected loss. We can deal with the legal aspects while you are free to concentrate on your loved ones.
Morgan & Morgan FAQs
Do I Have a Wrongful Death Case?
You might have a wrongful death case if a close family member was negligently killed in a car wreck in Orlando. However, the best way to determine whether you have a case is to speak to an attorney. One of our wrongful death lawyers can advise you comprehensively of your legal rights and options for suing a negligent party for damages.
Is Wrongful Death a Crime in Florida?
The term “wrongful death” refers to a civil case and not a criminal case. In a criminal case, such as murder, charges are brought by the government. In a wrongful death case, on the other hand, the survivors of the deceased individual or the estate will file charges against a negligent party. Wrongful death action is designed to provide victims with a way to recover compensation for any losses arising due to the death of their loved ones.
How Much Does a Wrongful Death Lawyer Cost?
Most wrongful death attorneys do not charge any upfront fees and instead work on a contingency fee agreement. Your attorney will typically receive a percentage of the settlement amount you recover if and when you win your wrongful death case. If you lose the case, you do not have to pay your attorney’s fee with a contingency agreement.
However, some wrongful death attorneys charge hourly wages or retainers, which could leave you out of pocket. Therefore, ensure to discuss your potential attorney’s fee structure before agreeing to hire them. Morgan & Morgan never charge upfront attorney’s fees. Our wrongful death attorneys only get paid when they win.
How Much Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Worth?
The worth of a wrongful death claim will depend on numerous factors, including but not limited to a decedent’s:
- Financial situation
- The degree of negligence of the at-fault party
Therefore, it can be impossible to know the worth of a wrongful death lawsuit without taking the above factors into account. No two car wreck death cases are the same. However, the family of a car accident victim could be entitled to the following damages as well as others:
- Hospital stays and other healthcare costs pre-death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Estate administration expenses
- Emotional anguish and physical pain
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of income and benefits from the deceased
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of parental guidance (minor children)
Since there are no average settlement amounts in wrongful death lawsuits, and compensation can vary, you should consult with a wrongful death attorney if a family member died in a car wreck in Orlando. An attorney can determine the approximate value of your case.
Morgan & Morgan Can Help
An unexpected car-wreck death in the family is devastating, especially if the accident could have been avoided. We understand the issues you might be dealing with after losing a loved one suddenly, such as shock, grief, a pile of paperwork, having to make funeral arrangements, and potentially facing a financial struggle.
If you do not know where to turn or what you should do after a car wreck death in Orlando, please reach out to us. Morgan & Morgan’s seasoned wrongful death attorneys can be here for you. We have helped the families of wrongful death victims recover compensation for decades and could fight for what you deserve too. Get help today and fill out our case review form to schedule a free consultation with our compassionate legal team.