Nick A. Ortiz is a personal injury attorney in Pensacola, Florida. Mr. Ortiz has the families for victims of wrongful death car accidents in since 2002. Unfortunately, due to the violent nature of auto accidents and the heavy weight of the motor vehicles involved, fatalities are relatively common. If someone you love has lost his or her life due to someone’s negligence, you may have a strong claim to compensation. The Ortiz Law Firm helps families receive justice when one more more family members have been carelessly killed in a car accident.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim After a Car Accident?
A wrongful death is defined as the loss of a life caused by the wrongful actions of another. Here in the state of Florida, the deceased’s survivors may file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for the loss of a loved family member. There are restrictions on who can bring a wrongful death claim, and there are time limits to file a lawsuit in a wrongful death claim (which is called the statute of limitations). That’s why it is important to consult with an attorney to determine whether you have legal rights and what you should do next.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Car Accidents
Car accident fatalities are caused by driver negligence, carelessness, irresponsibility, and recklessness and negligence. Each of the examples below constitute negligence and serve as the basis for liability in a wrongful death claim. Most wrongful death car accidents in the Florida can be attributed to one of the following categories. If any of these can be proven as the reason for the loss of your loved one, your chances of recovering financial compensation for the wrongful are strong:
- Abruptly switching lanes;
- Adjusting the car radio, DVD player or entertainment system;
- Brake failure;
- Careless driving;
- Distracted driving, such as speaking or texting with a cell phone;
- Driver inattentiveness;
- Drunk driving / DUI / DWI;
- Failure to maintain the vehicle;
- Faulty manufacturing;
- Following too closely under the traffic circumstances;
- Inexperienced driver;
- Poor weather conditions;
- Tired driver / fatigue; and
- Vehicle rollovers.
Settlements for a Wrongful Death Car Accident
In addition to causing heartache and emotional pain, the death of a loved one can cause a family to suffer serious financial hardship. This is especially worrisome where the deceased was the primary income earner or head of the family. The loss of the decedent’s future income is a major element of damages against the party responsible for the accident.
Wrongful death laws allow immediate family members to file an insurance claim or lawsuit against the person who caused their loved one’s death. Many such claims are settled out of court before going to a jury. Although money compensation for the death will not erase the emotional pain and suffering, it can help with funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, the loss of future earnings, loss of society and comfort (loss of consortium) and other losses the family will experience in the future.
What Factors Determine the Amount That Your Case is Worth?
There is no short and simple way to calculate and determine the value of a wrongful death claim that is the result of a car accident. Each case is unique and must be evaluated on its own merits. However, there are some factors for you to consider to give you an general idea on the value of a wrongful death claim.
- The age and education of the decedent;
- The decedent’s occupation and income;
- Whether the decedent is married;
- The number of children the decedent has;
- The amount of funds available to pay your claim (typically from an insurance company or corporation); and
- The skill and reputation of your attorney.
Age alone will not determine what a case is worth. In fact, two of the primary factors include the earnings capacity of the decedent and the number of deceased’s dependents.
For example, the potential value of a wrongful death claim involving a 21 year-old who is unemployed, single and does not have any kids will likely be less than a claim involving a 42 year-old business executive who is married and the father of three children.
As a general rule of thumb, the more coverage and higher the policy limits of the insurance policy of the party responsible for the wrongful death, the more a wrongful death claimant or plaintiff will likely recover.
Always remember, the defendant (and his or her attorneys or insurance company) is looking to pay out as little in damages and compensation as possible. It is the job of any attorney you hire to negotiate for you and maximize your recovery. Attorneys who are “settlement lawyers” and afraid to take cases to trial will tend to demand and accept smaller settlement offers from the responsible party than those who have a proven track record of success in aggressive negotiations with the defendant.
Consult With a Wrongful Death Attorney
Although the number of fatal car accidents has declined in Florida and the United States over the past few years, this does not help family members who are experiencing intense grief and mourning after the death of a loved one. These family members need a professional and experienced attorney to represent them and and help sort through the confusion, anger, and stress the wrongful death has caused the family.
Nick A. Ortiz is a wrongful death attorney with the Ortiz Law Firm. Although he cannot erase your family’s grief, Mr. Ortiz can help you seek and obtain justice for your loved one’s death at the hands of a negligent driver. Our investigation into the facts and circumstances surrounding the crash will seek to obtain a settlement that will help you to plan for your family’s future.
It only takes one phone call to attorney Nick A. Ortiz to set up a free consultation to discuss your wrongful death case. We will evaluate the Florida car accident case and determine if a settlement can be attained. Call us anytime for help and advice. We can be reached at (850) 308-7833. We look forward to hearing from you.