When Does A Car Accident Qualify As Wrongful Death?

Car Accident

Published on December 16th, 2021

Road traffic accidents are the leading cause of death in the United States, killing children, teens, and young adults. Traffic-related fatalities were up seven percent between 2019 and 2020.

Almost every American knows someone who has been injured in a car crash. If the trend continues, nationwide deaths could reach the highest level ever.

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that fatal car accidents are common given the amount of speed and reckless driving.

Airbags, seatbelts, and enhanced automotive technology make vehicles safer than today as opposed to prior decades. Nevertheless, roads still remain dangerous.

Among states, we’ve discovered that Florida has one of the highest traffic death rates per 100,000 residents at 14.7.

It’s a dangerous place when it comes down to motor vehicle accidents. Nobody who gets behind the wheel of a car expects to get involved in a collision, but car crashes occur in Florida more than they should.

Some of the most common causes of road traffic accidents are distracted driving, intoxicated driving, running red lights, and driving in inclement weather.

In spite of the overwhelming amount of information available about careless or unsafe driving, accidents still happen.

Fatal Accidents Caused By The Negligence Of Another Party May Be Eligible For A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

After the accident, the victim’s family has to prepare for the funeral and memorial service. Depending on the situation, they might choose to leverage this opportunity to draw attention to the importance of road safety, and so on. The pain of loss can become overwhelming.

It can take a long time to process what has happened. While some people feel disorientated, others experience a wave of uncontrollable anger, which can escalate.

The family members of the victim find death cruel and unfair. They feel they’ve been wronged. The question now is: Is it a wrongful death?

When another driver’s negligence results in the death of someone else, the family can obtain justice for their loved one. Some kind of negligence is involved in every type of car crash, but the one that results in wrongful death can lead to legal action. The driver’s direct or indirect actions led to the incident. Many factors are taken into consideration to determine if there were extenuating circumstances, which could have prevented the death of the individual. The at-fault person can be the driver in the car accident or a bartender who served alcohol to the person getting behind the wheel.

Common causes of car accidents that lead to a fatality include but aren’t limited to:

  • Texting while driving
  • Operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol
  • Reckless driving (ex. speeding)
  • Driver fatigue
  • Poor weather conditions
  • Car manufacturing defects
  • Inexperienced/elderly drivers

To Receive Damages From The Court, The Plaintiff Must Prove The Defendant Didn’t Act Like A Reasonable Person

Some cases are clear-cut, while others require thorough investigation, statements from witnesses, and other types of supporting evidence. The claim must be brought within a reasonable amount of time. The statute of limitations for a personal injury case varies from state to state. It is important to speak to an attorney about the case as soon as possible so the statute of limitations does not bar the claim. To sue another party for wrongful death, it’s necessary to prove that:

  • The fatal accident took place
  • The defendant owed a duty of care
  • The death of the plaintiff’s relative was caused by the carelessness, recklessness, or negligent actions of the defendant
  • The surviving loved ones have suffered emotional physical, and/or financial consequences

Meeting the burden of proof can turn out to be complicated. To prove that a family member was the victim of wrongful death, it’s necessary to stand in the shoes of the deceased and demonstrate that the other party acted carelessly. Attention needs to be paid to the fact that every state has different rules regarding who can file a lawsuit against the person who caused the death. In Florida, for instance, the personal representative, commonly referred to as the executor, of the deceased’s estate may bring legal action. Florida follows a stricter rule as opposed to other states, where the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, or parents can bring legal action.

A skilled lawyer is able to help the surviving immediate family members seek justice for their loved one’s passing away. In searching for the best personal injury lawyer, it’s a good idea to hire an attorney that specializes in car accidents. If your loved one was killed in a fatal car crash in Daytona Beach, it makes sense to reach out to qualified Daytona Beach injury lawyers. They have specific knowledge of local and state laws, not to mention familiarity with courts and court procedures. The lawyers help clients by letting them know if they have a valid claim, providing accurate evaluations of the claim’s worth, gathering compelling supportive evidence, negotiating for a fair settlement, and so forth.

Types Of Damages That Can Be Recovered in A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Most states in America, including Florida, clearly specify who can receive damages and what types of damages the court may award in a wrongful death lawsuit. Generally speaking, damages fall into two main categories: damages awarded to the victim’s family and damages awarded to the estate. The family of the deceased is able to recover pecuniary damages, which include medical expenses, funeral expenses, or a lost prospect of inheritance. On the other hand, the deceased person’s estate may recover certain types of damages, such as lost wages or the value of earnings and benefits the deceased could have expected to retain.

Very complex calculations are necessary to establish the amount of money to be awarded. As a rule, the court takes into consideration the following aspects:

  • The age of the deceased person
  • The needs of their children
  • Their prior medical history
  • Their earning power
  • Other details relating to the case

In some instances, it’s only possible to recover compensation after the lawyer’s fees and interests. We’re talking about the reasonable fee paid to the legal professional during the lawsuit and any interest when damages occurred. If the case gets to the jury trial stage, the jury will determine the amount of damages to award.