Fatal Car Accidents
If you have recently lost a family member in an unexpected accident, you probably have a lot on your mind as you cope with your grief. How will the medical bills get paid? What about the expenses for the funeral and burial? What kinds of damages might be possible to pursue from the party whose actions led to the accident? While nothing can bring back your loved one, the law firm of Cohn & Smith is dedicated to helping families in the Pembroke Pines area deal with the burdens that result from fatal car accidents. Our Pembroke Pines fatal car accident attorneys can help assert your rights and seek the compensation that you deserve.The Florida Wrongful Death Act
Although some states separate the claim that a deceased person would have had against a negligent party from the claim that the person’s family has for their own losses associated with their loved one’s death, Florida law has only a single cause of action. Under the Wrongful Death Act, certain members of a deceased accident victim’s family have a statutory right to recover damages if they can prove a case of negligence against a defendant.
To prove negligence, the claimant must first show that the decedent was owed a duty of care by the defendant. There must then be a showing that that duty was breached in some manner by the defendant. The third and fourth elements require the claimant to show that there was a causal connection between the breach of duty and the accident and that there were actual damages resulting from the crash.
Depending upon the situation, a spouse, children, parents, and other relatives may be entitled to recover financial compensation for a loved one’s death. The Wrongful Death Act requires that the claim be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. This person is appointed during the probate process, prior to the filing of the wrongful death suit.
Damages in fatal car accident cases may include:
- The value of the decedent’s lost support and services to the survivors;
- For a surviving spouse, the loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection, as well as mental pain and suffering;
- For children under the age of 25 at the time of the decedent’s death, and older children if there is no surviving spouse, lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, as well as mental pain and suffering;
- For parents of a minor child, and older children if the victim had no spouse or children, mental pain and suffering;
- Medical expenses of the decedent;
- Funeral expenses; and
- Lost earnings of the deceased person between the date of the injury and the date of death.
One important thing to know about wrongful death lawsuits arising from fatal car accidents is that a family who has lost a loved one has only half as much time to file suit as an accident survivor has: two years instead of four. Moreover, waiting anywhere near two years to seek legal counsel about a wrongful death case is extremely risky. Witnesses’ memories may begin to fade, the accident scene may change before it is properly documented, and the vehicles may be repaired or scrapped, destroying vital evidence that might be needed by a reconstruction expert.Discuss Your Wrongful Death Claim with a Hollywood Attorney
It takes time, dedication, and skill to properly prepare a wrongful death claim. The Pembroke Pines fatal car accident attorneys at Cohn & Smith can help you navigate the lengthy and complex process of seeking compensation for your family’s loss. You can reach us by calling (954) 431-8100 or using the contact form located on this website. We have been representing the families of South Florida accident victims for many years, and we welcome the opportunity to serve you in your time of need. We accept most cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you do not owe us any money unless your case is concluded with a settlement or judgment in your favor. Many of our clients have come from cities such as Sunrise, Tamarac, and Coral Spring, among other areas of Florida.