Articles Posted in Wrongful Death

You might not be surprised to learn that heart disease and cancer are the top two leading causes of death in the US, but the third may come as a shock: According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional accidents claimed the lives of 169,936 people in 2017 – a 4.2% increase over the previous year. There are many different causes and contributing factors behind accidents, but they are usually preventable and only occur because of someone else’s negligence. 

Losing a loved one in such a tragedy is emotionally overwhelming, but there are additional implications for your life. You may struggle financially without the support of the victim, and the void left behind may seem impossible to fill. Though you cannot bring back your family member, you may have options to recover compensation under Florida wrongful death laws. You can trust a Miami wrongful death lawyer to handle the details, but an overview of the legal basics may be useful.

Synopsis of Florida Wrongful Death Cases

With 2020 already well underway, it can be helpful to review fatal car accident statistics from previous years as a way of comparing trends. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle (FLHSMV) Crash Dashboard for 2018, there were 64,627 collisions in Miami-Dade County, killing 293 victims. The data for 2019 indicates a drop in the number of total accidents, down to 64,495; however, the number of fatalities was higher, as 335. So far this year, 29 people have been killed in 5,915 crashes. 

A fatal auto collision involves implications that extend far beyond the loss of life. Surviving loved ones lost a family member, often one they depended upon for financial support, care, and guidance. In such situations, it is important to discuss your rights with a Miami car accidents attorney. You can also review some fatal auto crash statistics to understand just how common these tragedies are.

Fatal Crashes in Miami and the Rest of Florida

When you are trying to cope with the grief and massive losses after losing a family member in an accident, it is comforting to know that you may be able to recover monetary damages under Florida’s wrongful death statute. The law is intended to compensate the victim’s loved ones for the losses they suffer, since they are indirect victims of such a tragedy. Of course, you probably realize that you must meet certain legal requirements to establish your rights. Under the circumstances, you probably wonder how you can provide essential evidence when the decedent is not around to offer it. 

Fortunately, the relevant laws provide for such a situation. While you should entrust your case to a Miami wrongful death lawyer, you should understand the importance of proof-related issues.

Basic Elements of a Wrongful Death Case

anh-nguyen-v-NBXj3Yv5o-unsplash-copy-221x300It is devastating to lose a loved one in an accident caused by someone else, but you might get a sense of relief knowing that you have rights as a surviving family member. Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, you could be eligible to seek compensation from the responsible person or entity. These claims are similar to other personal injury matters that involve negligence, since you must prove that careless actions were a direct result of the accident. However, wrongful death actions are unique in many ways, especially when it comes to the types of monetary damages you can recover. 

While you should always trust a Miami wrongful death lawyer for assistance with any critical legal matters, you can read on to gain a better understanding of compensation in these claims.

Damages for Surviving Family Members

daniel-thurler-511435-unsplash-copy-300x191A tragic motorcycle accident in Marion County, FL claimed the lives of two men and shut down traffic on northbound Interstate 75 for approximately five hours on Thursday, June 13, 2019. Orlando’s Spectrum News Channel 13 reported on the incident, which was still under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP). According to police, the two men were riding side-by-side on separate Harley Davidson motorcycles in front of a semi truck. The pair attempted to slow down due to traffic conditions, but one rider lost control of his vehicle. As the motorcycle slid across the pavement, the other man also lost control. Upon landing in the center lane, both men were struck by the 18 wheeler that had been traveling behind them. 

Under the circumstances, surviving family members may have options to recover compensation through a cause of action that is categorized as a wrongful death case. A Florida wrongful death attorney can explain in more detail, but an overview may be helpful.

How Wrongful Death Cases Work in Florida

Cruise Ship Passengers Killed During Excursion

On May 13, 2019 two sightseeing planes carrying Princess Cruise passengers collided in midair in Alaska. The floatplanes were carrying passengers near Ketchikan, in southeast Alaska. According to Princess Cruises, one of the planes was carrying 10 guests for a shore excursion sold by the cruise line.The other plane was an independent flight tour and was carrying four people from the Royal Princess vessel as well.

The fact that the excursion was sold by Princess to cruise ship passengers in this case is an important legal detail. Princess may be held liable under various legal theories including joint venture, negligent selection or negligent retention of the excursion operator that selected the airplanes for the company being used to transport the passengers. Alternatively, Princess  may be vicariously liable if the plane was negligently maintained resulting in the crash.  The plane manufacturer, maintenance company will likely have legal liability for this case. However, given the catastrophic damages, all sources of legal and financial responsibility will need to be explored. This This is an egregious example of what can go wrong during cruise ship excursions. If you suffered injuries or a loved one passed away from a serious accident or injury resulting in a wrongful death  during a cruise ship activity or excursion, we recommend you call our cruise ship accident lawyers in Florida at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. at (877) 475-2905. You also can reach out to us through our online form or email info@gslawusa.com to schedule your free consultation.

Breanha Free-Baker, 17, her mother Michelle Free-Baker, 40, and her grandmother Robyn Underwood, 61, were driving to dinner on a Saturday night when they were struck by another vehicle head on. A vehicle speeding down Hillsboro Boulevard crossed over the median and into the Free-Baker’s vehicle and several other cars. Breanha and her grandmother died in the crash. Breanha was a senior at Coral Glades High School. Michelle Free-Baker and a driver of another vehicle, Melanie Perozin, were injured and hospitalized at Broward Health North after the crash. If you were recently hurt or lost a loved one in a crash, contact a car accident lawyer for Miami at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. You can reach out to us through our online form or you can call (877) 475-2905 to schedule a free initial consultation.

Who Caused the Crash?

According to local reports, the at-fault driver was Andrea Schneider, 21. Schneider has a history of driving offenses and criminal convictions. Schneider had been convicted of driving without a license and driving on a suspended license several times in the past. At the time of the crash, she was on probation for trespassing in an occupied structure. It is unclear whether she had a valid license.The crash remains under investigation. Police currently do not know whether drugs or alcohol were involved, though this has not been ruled out.

Around 7:40 p.m. on October 31, Halloween night, police received a report of a crash near Griffin Road and Davie Road. Carlos Alvarado Amaya, 45, was crossing the street with his two young children when he and one child were struck by a vehicle. His five-year-old daughter was struck by the vehicle and died at the scene. The other child, roughly 2 years old, was taken to a nearby hospital. She suffered a laceration to her head and was reunited with her mother. The father and two children were returning home from trick-or-treating. The driver, a 30-year-old woman, in a silver Cadillac remained on the scene. Police do not yet know if drugs, alcohol, or speed were factors in the accident, though initial appearances indicate they were not. Police do know that Amaya and his children were in a designated crosswalk, but the streetlights were not on and it was a busy street. If you were injured or a loved one was killed in a vehicle-pedestrian crash, do not hesitate to contact our pedestrian accident lawyers from Gerson & Schwartz P.A. We are here to help you determine who is liable for the crash, and when appropriate, pursue compensation for your injuries or loss. Call us at (877) 475-2905 to schedule a free consultation.

Pedestrian Fatalities in Florida and the U.S. Are High

Unfortunately, situations like what happened this Halloween in Broward County are not uncommon. According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, pedestrian fatalities in 2017 hit a 25-year high. Nearly 6,000 individuals were killed. There also had been increases in fatalities for the two years before. Between 2007 and 2016, pedestrian fatalities increased 27 percent. Between 2016 and 2017, 23 states and Washington, D.C. experienced rises in their pedestrian deaths. Twenty other states remained steady or had fewer pedestrian fatalities compared to the year before. Florida is particularly known for its pedestrian dangers. Along with California, Texas, New York, and Arizona, these five states accounted for 43 percent of pedestrian deaths during the first half of 2017. Additionally, Florida has nine of the top 15 most dangerous areas for pedestrians in the U.S., according to a Smart Growth America study. The study, which was released in early 2017, found the 15 most dangerous metro areas for pedestrians were:

Jarrod M. Branscum, 22, was killed on Seven Mile Bridge after being struck head on in his vehicle. Branscum was driving north in a 2015 Mitsubishi Lancer around 1:45 a.m. Emily Andrefsky, 33, was driving south in her 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe when she crossed into on-coming traffic. The head-on crash caused Branscum to die at the scene. Andrefsky was flown to Ryder Trauma Center in Miami. The accident is under investigation by the Florida Highway Patrol and charges are pending against Andrefsky.

Unfortunately, head-on collisions such as this are all too common, and they often cause serious injuries and fatalities. If you lost a loved one in a front collision, contact a Miami car accident lawyer at Gerson & Schwartz P.A. at (877) 475-2905.

Head-On Crashes

Last September, an early morning boat crash claimed the life of Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez and his two companions, Eduardo Rivero and Emilio Jesus Macias. The crash happened when the pitching ace’s boat ran aground into a stone jetty between PortMiami and the open ocean. Families of the two men killed with Fernandez recently filed personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits against his estate, claiming that the baseball player’s negligence led to the men’s deaths.

When careless or reckless behavior causes an injury or a death, whoever caused the accident or injury can be held responsible for paying damages in civil court—even if that person did not survive the same accident. If your loved one was killed because of someone else’s negligence, our experienced Miami wrongful death attorneys can help.

Mystery Surrounds Crash