Pedestrian accidents are on the rise in Florida, and often when a car hits a bystander, the results are incredibly serious – even deadly.
Since 2009, pedestrian deaths have steadily increased. In fact, Florida is one of the top three states for fatal hit-and-run pedestrian accidents.
This May, a Pensacola man was killed when he did not use the crosswalk and was hit by a driver.
In late April, a man from New Port Richey was killed when he was walking in the center lane. The man was wearing dark clothes and the area was not lit, so the driver did not see him.
A hit-and-run accident in March killed a bicyclist in Pinellas Park, and a pedestrian in Tampa was killed in another hit-and-run accident.
If a pedestrian is hit and dies in the crash, the family estate may be able to claim compensation. In this post, we’ll tell you how wrongful death claims work.
How Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work
Under the Florida statutes, the death must have been caused by “the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of the other person or entity. The personal representative named in the deceased person’s will can file the claim. If no person was named, the court will appoint a representative.
If the case results in an award to the estate, any surviving family member with an interest in the case can receive benefits. This includes the spouse, children, parents, and other relatives or siblings who were dependent upon the deceased person.
Wrongful death lawsuits are subject to a statute of limitations. They must be filed within two years of the death. You may not be able to receive compensation unless you file within that time restriction.
A wrongful death claim differs from a criminal case. Depending on the circumstances, the state may file a criminal case against the negligent driver. However, a wrongful death case is a civil case brought about by the family for financial compensation.
The estate of the deceased person is eligible to receive compensation for the following reasons:
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of companionship, protection, or guidance
- Value of the services and support provided by the deceased person
- Emotional suffering after the loss of a child
- Lost income and benefits, and other income reasonably expected if the deceased person had lived
- Lost value of the earnings of the estate reasonably expected if the deceased person had lived
Depending on the severity of the accident, the financial compensation figures could climb into the millions.
Seek Help from a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney
If your loved one died in a pedestrian accident, you can receive legal assistance from a knowledgeable Florida wrongful death attorney. Your lawyer will be able to determine whether the accident was due to another’s negligence.
Common reasons for driver negligence include the following:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk or drugged driving
- Fatigued driving
- Failure to yield
If your loved one’s pedestrian accident was due negligence, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Call us today for a free consultation.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.