A dump truck crossed into the lane of a 23-year-old driver causing him to die at the scene in Orlando Florida. If a person dies due to a wrongful act in the State of Florida caused by negligence, breach of contract or default, the deceased person’s estate through a personal representative or surviving family members may file a civil suit for legal remedy for the death and losses related to it.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Florida must be filed within two years of the date of death in most cases, according to Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d). Wrongful death civil claims can only yield monetary damages for the deceased’s estate. If criminal activity caused the wrongful death, punitive damages may be considered with no monetary value assigned for survivors or the estate.
Florida Statutes section 768.21 sets out the state’s rules for awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit based on:
- the value of support and services the deceased person provided to the surviving family;
- loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person;
- mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a family member, and
- medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.
Estate may also recover:
- lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make in their lifetime;
- lost earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived; and
- medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.
The dump truck most likely required additional liability insurance under Florida Statute 627.7415. Florida Statute 627.7415 State of Florida requirements are that motor vehicles must have current auto insurance coverage with a minimum requirement of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL). Commercial vehicles in the State of Florida must carry bodily injury liability protection against claims for personal injuries for victims of a truck accident. The extra insurance is necessary when a truck is of a certain gross weight; has three or more axels, owned or driven by a governmental entity, is used for interstate versus intrastate travel and carries a load that may be considered hazardous.
Accident victims can file a personal injury claim in Florida, but under Florida’s No-Fault Insurance Law, costs incurred due to an accident will be paid primarily from a claim against the injured person’s own insurance company to cover non-serious injuries. The Florida No-Fault Law requires drivers to carry PIP to pay the insured’s bills, regardless of fault, up to the limit of the $10,000.
Determination of fault.
When a truck driver is found to be at fault for the accident, a separate legal claim can be lodged for wrongful death with compensation based on the “pure comparative negligence rule” adjusting compensation to assigned percentages of driver’s fault.
Contact an attorney.
An experienced Florida attorney can help you determine the exact statute of limitations expiration date, the value of a wrongful death claim and the assignment of fault.