Fatal Car Accidents
Car accidents range in severity from relatively minor incidents that cause no physical injuries to catastrophic crashes that result in the loss of life. Regardless of the extent of the losses suffered, most collisions are caused by reckless driving, and people that suddenly lose a loved one because of someone else’s negligence may be able to recover compensation via a wrongful death lawsuit and should consult a lawyer. If your loved one was killed in a car accident caused by negligence, the diligent Cape Coral car accident attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. can inform you of your rights and assist you in pursuing any damages you may be owed. We regularly represent people in wrongful death cases following fatal car accidents in Cape Coral and in other cities throughout Florida.Actions that Commonly Lead to Fatal Car Accidents
While some car accidents are unavoidable, most are caused by careless acts. For example, if a manufacturer fails to ensure that a car or its parts are free of defects, it can lead to a collision that causes fatal injuries. Similarly, if the road where a deadly accident occurred was unsafe, the party responsible for designing or maintaining the road may be deemed liable. Generally, however, fatal collisions are caused by reckless driving. For example, many deaths are caused by impacts that occur at a high rate of speed. Accidents caused by drivers that are intoxicated or impaired due to the use of drugs are a common cause of deaths as well. Aggressive or offensive driving also often leads to deadly collisions.Proving Liability for a Fatal Collision
If a person’s death is caused by another party, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can pursue claims for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. While the Florida Wrongful Death Act (the Act) allows parties to pursue wrongful death claims under several theories of liability, in most lawsuits arising out of a fatal car accident, the plaintiff will allege that the defendant was negligent. In Florida, to prove negligence, a plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty to act with reasonable care under the circumstances, but the defendant breached the duty.
The plaintiff must also show that the defendant’s breach caused the accident and that the accident caused the fatal injuries, which caused the plaintiff to suffer actual losses. In many instances, police reports, eyewitness statements, and surveillance video and pictures may be used to demonstrate that the defendant failed to operate his or her vehicle in a safe manner. A plaintiff that successfully establishes liability may be awarded damages. Any claim must be filed within two years of the date of death, however, or the estate and any survivors may lose the right to recover compensation.Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim
The Act details the compensation that may be awarded in a wrongful death claim. Specifically, it states that the estate may be awarded damages for the loss of earnings from the time the deceased person was injured until he or she died, with certain deductions. Additionally, medical and funeral expenses may be awarded to the estate, along with compensation for the estimated amount of money the deceased person would have accumulated throughout his or her life if he or she had lived.
The deceased person’s survivors may be granted damages as well, for the loss of the services and support caused by the deceased person’s death. They may also be granted remuneration for the emotional trauma caused by the deceased person’s passing. It is important to note, though, that only those individuals that are defined as survivors under the Act, such as a child or spouse, may be awarded damages.Speak to a Seasoned Lawyer in Cape Coral
Losing a loved one in a car accident may not only result in emotional trauma but may also cause significant financial losses as well. If you lost a loved one in a collision, the seasoned car accident attorneys of Lusk, Drasites & Tolisano, P.A. will work tirelessly to help you pursue any damages you may be owed. We regularly represent parties in wrongful death lawsuits following fatal car accidents in Cape Coral, and in Fort Myers and Naples. Our offices are located in Cape Coral, Naples, and Fort Myers, and you can reach us via our online form or at 800-283-7442 to schedule a consultation.