Any time a loved one dies, we are upset and grieve our loss. Losing someone without warning in a fatal car accident, is even more devastating. In 2020, 3,318 people died in 3,080 fatal auto crashes in Florida. Thousands of people lost their chance to say goodbye.
Amid the overwhelming grief you feel after losing a loved one in a crash, you are also faced with medical bills, funeral expenses, and the loss of income, comfort, and companionship. If someone else’s negligence resulted in their death, you want the responsible party to be held accountable.
At the Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius P.A., I have been helping clients devastated by the loss of loved ones in car accidents in Altamonte Springs, Central Florida, and throughout the state for more than 25 years. I fight for justice and accountability, standing up to insurance company attorneys trying to discount the life and needless death of others.
A “wrongful death” is a death caused by someone else’s negligence, and the negligent individual or entity can be held liable for that death.
Under Florida law, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate, named in a will or estate plan, may file a wrongful death claim. If the decedent has no will and there is no personal representative, the court can appoint one.
The wrongful death action must identify all beneficiaries of any recovery and their relationship to the decedent. Beneficiaries can include:
The surviving spouse
Minor children of the decedent and adult children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse (Florida law defines a minor in this case as anyone under 25 years of age)
Parents of a deceased minor child and parents of an adult child if there is no surviving spouse or children
Any blood relative or adopted siblings of the decedent who are partly or wholly dependent upon the decedent for support and services
In the case of the mother’s death, a child born out of wedlock
In the case of the father’s death, a child born out of wedlock who can prove the father was financially responsible for them
In Florida, there is a two-year statute of limitations from the date of death in which a wrongful death claim may be filed. If the claim is not filed or settled within that time period the right to recovery is likely lost forever.
No sum of money recovered can ever compensate you for the loss of a loved one, but the estate and beneficiaries may receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages.
The decedent’s estate may recover lost income and the estimated loss of the future financial value of the estate, as well as medical and funeral expenses if those were paid by the estate. The estate would then be distributed to the heirs.
Survivors can recover compensation for loss of companionship, protection, guidance, and instruction, for pain and suffering, loss of support and services, and for medical and funeral expenses if those were paid by the survivors.
There are two primary reasons to file a wrongful death claim. First, it holds the person or entity responsible for their actions by penalizing them financially and legally for their negligence, which might save other families from going through the trauma of a similar loss in the future.
Second, death is expensive, and financial recovery for expenses like funeral and burial costs and loss of value of the loved one’s estate can help ease the financial burden of your loss.
Filing a wrongful death action is not about profiting from the death of a loved one. It is about holding someone accountable for their actions.
Pursuing a wrongful death claim after the loss of a loved one as the result of a fatal car accident is a complex and emotional process. It is an action you should pursue only with an experienced personal injury attorney who is not only knowledgeable but passionate about seeking justice for those killed by someone else’s negligence.
At the Law Firm of Mark A. Cornelius P.A., I represent individuals and families in Altamonte Springs, Seminole, Orange, Osceola, Volusia, Polk County, and Lake County, Florida. I use my passion for justice to aggressively pursue wrongful death claims against insurance companies who want to deny the value of your loved one’s life.
If you have lost someone in a fatal car crash or as the result of someone else’s negligence in any circumstance, do not delay. You have only two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death action. Call my office today to schedule a free consultation.