Many people remind their spouse to drive safely when they get into the car to head to work for the day or leave to go buy groceries. Despite how common such sayings are, most people don’t stop to think about the very real potential for losing a loved one in a car crash until it happens to them.
If you are still trying to adjust to your new reality without a member of your family after a fatal car crash, you probably have a lot of questions. Questions about your legal right to compensation may leave you uncertain about whether you should take action.
Does a car crash qualify your family for a wrongful death claim under Florida law?
Not all wrecks qualify, but those that meet certain standards do
Fatal crashes can sometimes occur in situations where neither party is clearly at fault. Unpredictable events, like weather anomalies, as well as situations where both drivers were partially at fault for a crash, won’t give surviving family members an option to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Neither will a collision where police or insurance determine that your deceased loved one was primarily responsible.
However, if the crash was the fault of the other driver and their mistake constitutes either a default, wrongful act or negligence, you may be able to bring a civil claim against that driver.
Is your relationship one that qualifies for a claim?
Under Florida law, only representatives of an estate have the authority to bring a wrongful death claim after a car crash. Dependent family members, as well as parents in cases where the deceased does not have a spouse or children yet, are often the ones who benefit from any compensation awarded by the courts.
You will need to take action quickly, rather than waiting until you’ve moved on from your grief. Florida’s statute of limitations requires that you file a wrongful death claim within two years of the date of death or potentially lose your right to seek compensation. Talking with an attorney about the crash and its impact on your family can be a good way to explore whether your situation might qualify as a wrongful death scenario.