How Can a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Help the Family of a Fatal Car Accident?
How Can a Florida Car Accident Lawyer Help the Family of a Fatal Car Accident? Following a fatal car accident, victims’ families may want to file a wrongful death claim against the liable parties responsible for the accident. At the same time, they’ll have to deal with the loss of their loved ones and go through the grieving process, making these cases particularly difficult to navigate.
If you lose a family member in a car accident and want to recover compensation for your loss, the attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm can help. Our Florida car accident lawyers have plenty of experience handling these and other wrongful death cases to help our clients get the settlement they deserve.
Why Choose the Attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm?
If a loved one dies in a car accident and you believe that someone else is liable for his or her death, you may need the help of Florida car accident attorneys to help you recover compensation and handle your case. The experienced lawyers at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm provide the families of car accident victims with the support they need to build a strong case against negligent parties.
Our attorneys have more than 50 years of combined experience and have represented clients in many wrongful death and personal injury cases. Over the years, we have recovered millions of dollars for our clients throughout Florida.
If you’re searching for a reliable car accident attorney in Florida, turn to Holliday Karatinos Law Firm and request a free consultation today.
The Different Types of Compensation for Fatal Car Accident Cases in Florida
In the event of a fatal car accident, victims’ families may be able to recover different types of damages, including compensatory and punitive damages. Compensatory damages include certain economic and non-economic damages, while punitive damages intend to punish defendants in cases involving gross negligence.
Before seeking compensation, it’s essential to know what each type of compensation covers.
Also known as special damages, economic damages cover the specific financial losses that the families of deceased loved ones face. These are relatively easy to calculate as they come with defined dollar amounts attached to them.
Economic damages in fatal car accident cases could include:
- Medical expenses for caring for a loved one before death
- Loss of benefits such as health insurance
- Loss of inheritance
- Lost wages and lost earning potential
- Expenses pertaining to funerals and burials
Although these damages are easier to quantify than non-economic damages in most cases, it could be more challenging to identify and calculate all economic damages in wrongful death cases.
Certain non-economic damages may also apply to a fatal car accident case. These are also called general damages and account for the less tangible pain and suffering that people sustain after losing a loved one.
Examples of non-economic damages in these cases could include:
- Loss of guidance and care
- Mental anguish experienced after a loss
- Loss of companionship and love
- Loss of consortium (relationship)
In some cases, punitive damages may also come into play. Courts may award these types of damages to punish defendants for egregious behavior that leads to a person’s death. For example, the court may require a defendant in a car accident case to pay punitive damages to victims’ families if they willfully sped through an area with high vehicle or pedestrian traffic. The desired result of punitive damages is to prevent similar behavior from causing accidents.
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to recover a combination of compensatory and punitive damages. An attorney can help determine what damages pertain to your case and help calculate them.
Common Types of Fatal Car Accidents
Car accidents often occur in Florida, which is one of the highest-ranking states for vehicle accident fatalities in the country. According to a recent Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) report, almost 3,000 vehicle accident fatalities have occurred in a single year.
Some accidents are deadlier than others and can result in severe injuries and fatalities because of numerous factors. The following are some of the most common fatal car accidents and the elements that make them dangerous.
One of the deadliest types of car accidents is a head-on collision. The force of impact between two vehicles heading in opposite directions can cause extensive damage to vehicles and serious, life-threatening injuries.
Another type of deadly accident is a rollover, which often leads to severe injuries and fatalities. Manufacturers don’t often test vehicles’ safety during rollover accidents. Larger vehicles such as vans, SUVs, and trucks tend to be more vulnerable to rollover accidents, but even compact vehicles could roll over under certain circumstances, such as abnormally slick roads.
Commercial semi-trucks that roll over are especially dangerous, with the mass and force of trailers capable of causing serious injuries.
Many car accidents also involve motorcyclists. These individuals are more vulnerable than other vehicle operators because of their exposure. The only real protection that motorcyclists tend to have is a helmet. As such, motorcycle accidents are often severe and lead to fatalities.
According to FLHSMV, the Tampa area alone saw about 42 motorcycle accident fatalities per year over a recent six-year period. This statistic alone highlights the potential danger motorcyclists face on the road in Florida.
Side Impact Crashes
Side impact collisions could also cause fatalities for drivers and passengers. One of the main reasons these accidents are often serious is the lack of sufficient protection for vehicle occupants on the sides of vehicles. Vehicles hitting a car from the side are more likely to cause extensive damage to the vehicle and subsequent injuries.
Commercial Truck Accidents
Large commercial trucks colliding with smaller vehicles often cause fatalities because of their size and force. Whether in a head-on, side impact, rollover, or another type of accident, any time a commercial truck crashes into other vehicles, serious damage and injuries can result.
Another potential factor that can contribute to serious injuries and fatalities is the contents of trailers. Semi-truck trailers may contain toxic chemicals or other materials that can become hazardous when they spill onto the road or other vehicles.
In any of these accidents, multiple parties may be liable. These could include drivers, motorcyclists, bicyclists, pedestrians, manufacturers, mechanics, and municipalities. A reliable fatal car accident lawyer in Florida may be able to identify these parties and collect evidence to support a wrongful death claim against them.
Filing a Car Accident Claim with Insurance Companies
After losing someone in a car accident, families may want to file an insurance claim to recover compensation for wrongful death. However, they may be unfamiliar with the process of filing a claim while dealing with the difficulty of sudden loss.
Insurance companies and adjusters negotiating with you might appear to sympathize with you. They may even seem eager to get you the full compensation you deserve with your claim. Despite this, it’s important to remember that insurance adjusters aren’t truly on the claimant’s side. They work for an insurance company that wants to avoid paying out large sums of money to anyone and will aim to minimize liability. In the process, they may significantly reduce the compensation you receive or deny your claim.
During negotiations, insurance companies may make an initial offer that seems high, but this will likely be far lower than what the case is worth. This is why it’s best to consult an attorney about the first offer and continue negotiating if it isn’t fair for your losses. At the same time, you might not know how much your case is worth, making it more challenging to know what a fair settlement will look like.
When you work with the attorneys at Holliday Karatinos Law Firm, you’ll be able to negotiate more effectively with insurers and get the kind of compensation you deserve. We can help determine how much your case is truly worth and handle negotiations with insurers, giving families the time they need to grieve and recover from their loss.
What to Do After Losing a Loved One in a Car Accident
Following the loss of a loved one in a fatal car accident in Florida, there are some steps you should take to succeed with a case against liable parties. While it’s important to go through the process of seeking compensation the right way, families of lost loved ones may struggle to balance a case while mourning and settling the person’s estate.
Keep in mind that there is a statute of limitations in place for all wrongful death cases in Florida, including fatal car accidents. According to Florida law, the families of loved ones have two years to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, after which period they may not be able to recover compensation or use the court to do so..
To ensure you know where you stand regarding the statute of limitations and to maximize your chances of succeeding with a case, take the following steps.
Connect With an Attorney
One early step is to discuss a potential case with an attorney. Negotiating with insurers and going through the claims process can involve various complexities that provide a challenge for claimants. A Florida fatal car accident attorney with experience handling wrongful death cases can help recover the compensation that victims’ families deserve. A lawyer will also be able to inform you of your rights and the options available for recovering damages from liable parties.
Collect Sufficient Evidence to Build a Case
The next step to recover compensation is gathering enough evidence to build a strong case in your favor.
You can begin by getting a death certificate from the state’s Department of Health. In addition, you’ll want to collect other evidence, including video footage or photos of the damage, injuries, and scene of the accident. Police reports, medical receipts and records, and witness statements are other potentially crucial pieces of evidence that can contribute to a successful claim or lawsuit.
It isn’t always easy to find and procure the evidence needed to support a wrongful death case. If you need assistance with this process, your attorney may be able to work to collect and organize all relevant evidence. A knowledgeable lawyer can speak to witnesses, obtain copies of medical records, and gather evidence through other means.
Decide on a Representative for the Estate
While people may designate a person in their will to serve as a representative for their estate, this isn’t always the case. Some may neglect to mention a specific name or lack a will, leaving the family to decide on a representative. Before you file a wrongful death claim, you should assign a specific representative.
If you need some help with deciding on a suitable representative, an attorney may be able to assist with this.
Begin Negotiations and the Investigation
With everything else in order, it’s time for the attorney to begin negotiating with insurers and investigating the case. This step involves assessing all available evidence, identifying all liable parties, calculating the damages involved, and taking the proper steps to recover full compensation.
This step may take a long time to complete, but it’s important to spend ample time on investigations and negotiations to secure a fair outcome. Rushing the process could leave families without the compensation they deserve.
Call Us for Your Free Consultation With Our Fatal Car Accident Lawyers in Florida
If you lose a loved one in a car accident and want to recover compensation from liable parties, the right attorney may be able to help. Our attorneys can meet with you to discuss your case in a free consultation and determine your options. Reach out to a Florida personal injury lawyer.
To discuss a Florida wrongful death claim or lawsuit with an attorney, contact Holliday Karatinos Law Firm online or call us at (352) 597-0009 for your free consultation today.
Jim Holliday has recovered millions of dollars for his clients in restitution for their injuries.