As Miami personal injury lawyers with decades of experience handling serious car accident cases, we found the news of a tragic wreck that occurred in Sarasota, Florida truly heartbreaking. A 2007 BMW 750 Li was reportedly traveling northbound on U.S. 301 “at a high rate of speed” at around 2:40 a.m. when the driver failed to slow down while turning right onto University Parkway. The vehicle wound up cutting through the grass along the shoulder of the Parkway and crashed into an embankment. The high rate of speed caused the vehicle to become airborne ultimately coming in contact with a railroad support pole located on nearby railroad tracks. The vehicle then became engulfed in flames.
An innocent passenger’s life was extinguished in the accident. The victim was a Sarasota resident only 40 years young, according to a news report on Patch.com written by Ethan Levine.
Our deepest condolences go out to the victim’s family and friends. Losing someone you love is never easy, especially when the loss is sudden and completely unexpected.
The police investigation into the collision indicates that a friend of the victim was operating the vehicle and there are suspicions that the driver may have been under the influence of alcohol, according to the Patch.com article.
If it turns out that this horrific accident was caused by the carelessness of an intoxicated driver, a wrongful death claim may be pursued by the family of the passenger.
A wrongful death claim is governed by the Florida Wrongful Death Statute, codified in Sections 768.71-768.81 of the Florida Code. A lawsuit can be filed against the responsible person when any death is caused by any “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty.” This includes negligent acts (such as operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol and/or operating the vehicle in a reckless manner).
According to the wrongful death statute, survivors of the deceased may pursue compensatory damages for the lost support and/or services after the death of a loved one. Survivors of the deceased include:
- Any relative dependent on the deceased for financial or emotional support
A judge or jury, depending on the type of trial selected, will consider various factors when determining the amount of damages to be awarded to the survivors of the accident victim. These factors include:
- The relationship between the survivor and the deceased (e.g., husband and wife, parent and child, etc.)
- The “replacement value” of the deceased’s services (e.g., the income lost by the victim’s death)
- Funeral expenses
Your Miami wrongful death lawyer can also request “punitive damages.” These damages may be available when a death is caused by the reckless or grossly negligent behavior of the defendant. In the tragic accident described above, punitive damages could potentially be recoverable.
Speak to a Miami Wrongful Death Attorney
The South Florida wrongful death lawyers of Gerson & Schwartz P.A. have decades of experience representing accident victims and their families throughout Sarasota, Miami Dade, Miami Beach, the Florida Keys, Fort Lauderdale, Broward, and West Palm Beach. Contact our firm to set up a time for a free, confidential case analysis.