Wrongful Death Car Accidents: What To Know & Do ASAP
Have you recently lost a close family member due to death from a car accident, where someone else was to blame? Florida wrongful death lawsuits, when caused by auto accidents, have many unique legal landmines. This article will highlight some of the most important.
Despite what we know is unbearable grief, there are many things you need to do very quickly, to avoid losing possibly a lot of value in any potential legal case.
(If you would like immediate answers to your questions, please do not hesitate to call or text to (407) 803-2139. We answer calls 24/7/365. Attorneys either take calls immediately, or return calls very quickly.)
Never Speak To Any Insurance Adjusters
First, you should never, ever speak to any insurance adjuster, without talking a wrongful death lawyer first. Particularly in wrongful death cases, where values can be very high with the right insurance policy, insurance adjusters are often very aggressive (and stealthy) in their attempts to get information to destroy, or greatly reduce, the value of any subsequent lawsuit.
This also means you shouldn’t speak with any Uber, Lyft, or other business / corporate representatives. No matter what they say, they do NOT have your best interests at heart. Their goal is ALWAYS to write the lowest dollar amount check possible.
How Car Accident Wrongful Death Damages Are Calculated
Many people do not realize that wrongful death damages relate, primarily, to two things: (1) evidence of fault in the accident, and (2) the closeness of the relationship(s) between the person who died, and the person, or people, trying to recover.
How Insurance Adjusters Try To Get Information To Lower Case Value
Since wrongful death damages relate to the closeness of the family relationships, in addition to whether the insured driver caused the accident itself, the insurance company will often aggressively seek information to either disprove fault in the accident, or to learn about family strife, of any type. There is no way to explain all of their tricks in this regard.
But they often say things that make them sound very helpful. For example, they might say that the insurance company accepts liability for the accident. This sounds good, but is totally meaningless if they haven’t put a dollar figure on their liability. Or they might express or display sympathy, which, again, doesn’t matter unless they are putting their money where their mouth is. Meanwhile, once they have you convinced that they want to try to help, they aggressively seek all kinds of information that could greatly reduce, or even eliminate, the value of your wrongful death car accident case. So the best approach is ALWAYS to hire an attorney to speak on your behalf.
Available Insurance Policies Are Often The Highest Possible Value For Any Auto Accident / Wrongful Death Case
The available insurance policies, or sometimes business worth, if any business caused the accident, usually set the upper limit on potential available recovery in wrongful death cases.
So someone tragically killed by a commercial vehicle, business, Uber or Lyft driver, or semi-truck, would likely have a much higher recovery than someone who had an accident with an individual driver. For that reason, we have settled wrongful death cases ranging from 10K (policy limits of an individual with no recoverable assets) to several million.
If you have a case that might be in the higher end of the range, it really is critical that you call us right away, as the insurance company will hire investigators & experts to collect negative evidence, sometimes as early as the same day as the accident.
What Evidence You Might Want To Start Collecting
Since we have to prove the closeness of your relationship with the person who died, you might want to try to start collecting and saving any evidence of your relationship with the person who died, or the joy he or she experienced in life, such as family photos, text or voice messages, videos, letters, or even objects or calendar entries.
What If You Had An Estranged Relationship With The Person Who Died?
If you had an estranged, difficult, or “complicated” relationship with the person who died, as long as you are a qualified survivor under Florida’s wrongful death statute, we can still often help. In those cases, we use a different, tailored strategy, depending on the unique facts of each case.
What Evidence We Need ASAP After Any Car Accident That Led To A Wrongful Death
We wrongful death lawyers need to begin collecting critical evidence as soon as possible after any serious accident. This might include things like black-box recordings, in semi-truck cases, or Uber or Lyft ride receipts, in Uber or Lyft accidents. We also may need to view the vehicles, or the accident scene, or talk to witnesses. Sometimes we need experts to examine the vehicle, to make sure there weren’t any product defects. In other cases, we need to make sure businesses save video recordings, which they aren’t required to save in Florida without notice that we might be filing a lawsuit. Or we might need phone records, which are often deleted very quickly.
All of these things are essential to maximizing case value. And many of these things disappear quickly, or are intentionally destroyed, after serious accidents that caused death. Since you will have the burden to prove your case, we need to get started collecting this evidence, as soon as possible after any auto accident that led to a fatality.
When There Are Multiple Survivors, The First To File Has Major Advantages
If there are multiple people who might file a lawsuit (for example, multiple siblings), filing first allows you to be in control of the case progression, and definitely can be the difference between zero recovery, and a high value recovery, for you. Often the first person to file is in the best position in the lawsuit. Ideally, everyone would agree to pursue the case together. But, if that’s not the case, it is best to be the first person to file in court.
If you are concerned about sensitive family strife issues, after any death, which is common, we can help. We do everything possible to be sensitive to family dynamics, and grief, when handling any wrongful death lawsuit. Our goal is to help you do what’s right for you.
Would You Like A Free Consultation?
There are many other factors to consider, in any car accident that caused a wrongful death. We will provide a free & thorough consultation, with our small team of award-winning & highly experienced lawyers. We have three lawyers on our team — all with many years of experience handling catastrophic injury and wrongful death lawsuits. We will never shuffle your case off to an inexperienced or high volume lawyer. We have handled many wrongful death cases caused by auto accidents, so are well-qualified to help you make the best choices, starting as soon as you call us.
You can call or text (407) 803-2139, 24/7/365.