Recently CentralNY published a story on a tragic fatal Florida car accident that took the life of a college student. Details on the auto accident remain sparse, as authorities are still investigating to determine exactly what happened. What is known is that a 22-year old was on his way back to Santa Fe College in Gainesville after having spent the holiday season with his family. He was traveling south on Interstate 95 on Sunday when, for reasons that have yet to be determined, his car careened off the road. The vehicle eventually slammed into the concrete base of an overhead sign. The impact was severe, and the student did not survive the collision.
The Miami, Florida Auto accident attorneys at Gerson & Schwartz, PA say it is far too early to make any claims about whether or not there might be civil liability in this case. The road conditions may have been poor, items from another vehicle may have been in the road, his car could have malfunctioned, or any number of other factors may had led to the tragic accident.
What is Wrongful Death?
Whatever the case might be, this Interstate 95 accident is just one of many fatal accidents that strike on our roadways each and every week. When one is killed in a car accident that may have been caused by another’s negligence, surviving family members often have questions about the legal ramifications of the incident.
It is important for families to know that the they may be able to file a wrongful death suit to recover for their own unique losses following a fatal accident. Depending on type of accident that caused the death, Florida’s wrongful death statute allows specific family members and individuals the right to seek recovery for pain suffering and other financial losses as the result of the loss of life. The law of who can bring a claim can depend on marital status and whether the death was caused by medical malpractice. In particular, “spouses, children, and parents, others dependent on the decedent for support as well as the personal representative for the benefit of the deceased’s estate” may be able to seek recovery under the act.
Many are confused about the purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit. Unlike “survival” actions, which seek compensation for the harm suffered by the individual who survive and then pass away, wrongful death claims seek recovery for the harm suffered by the survivors themselves. One need only ask a parent who has lost a child or someone who has lost a spouse in a car accident to know instantly of the immense pain experienced by survivors. It would be gravely unjust for those individuals to have no avenue for recourse following an accident caused by another simply because they themselves were not physically involved in the accident. Further, a perverse incentive would exist if there was not compensation for the harm caused by a death—it would be more cost-effective for the wrongdoer if the individual died rather than was merely injured.
Under Florida law, there are two types of wrongful death claims. A claim for wrongful death may be filed on behalf of the estate, and a claim may also be filed by certain family members for the pain and suffering, loss of support, loss of services, and other harm. An experienced Miami injury lawyer, or Florida wrongful death attorney can explain how these exact rules apply in your case. For more information contact us at (877) 475-2905 for more information.