In the State of Florida, there were 2,494 people killed in car accidents in 2013, according to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. When a car accident causes a wrongful death, a wrongful death claim may be an option to obtain compensation for resulting losses. For example, if a collision occurs because a driver is speeding and a victim in another vehicle dies, a wrongful death claim could be filed against the speeding driver to recover compensation for losses due to the untimely death.
Florida statute 768.16 through 768.26 make up the Florida Wrongful Death Act. According to the Act, a civil claim for wrongful death can arise in situations where the victim would have had a personal injury claim if the injuries had not been fatal. This means a wrongful death claim following a car accident could be successful if plaintiffs can prove the defendant was unreasonably negligent when operating a motor vehicle and the negligence resulted in the collision occurring.
A wrongful death action in Florida should be filed by a personal representative of the deceased victim, according to Florida Statute 768.20. The personal representative will recover damages allowed under the wrongful death act for the benefit of the deceased victim’s surviving family members and estate.
Damages are defined in Florida Statute 768.21 to include the value of lost financial support and services the deceased was providing; loss of companionship and protection; loss of parental companionship; mental pain and suffering; medical expenses incurred prior to the death; and funeral expenses. Plaintiffs must prove damages in a wrongful death claim, in addition to proving the defendant was liable for causing the fatal accident as a result of negligence or wrongdoing.