Two people were killed in an I-10 multi-vehicle accident in early September, WTXL News reports. Local law enforcement received calls alerting them to a wrong-way driver on the interstate. When they arrived, they found a sedan facing eastbound in the westbound lane after a head-on collision. Both drivers were killed at the scene.
Negligence and the duty of care
Most car accident cases proceed on a theory of negligence. Drivers owe a duty of care to other vehicles on the road. This includes obeying all traffic laws and not taking unnecessary risks—such as driving the wrong way on the freeway. When a driver fails to observe the duty of care, they can be held liable for negligence.
Wrongful death and vehicle accidents
Normally, a negligent driver’s victims can sue the driver for damages. When the victim is killed, however, the procedure changes. Florida allows the victim’s personal representative (also known as an executor) to file a wrongful death suit on behalf of the estate and surviving family members. Like general negligence actions, the plaintiff must prove the defendant was at fault by a preponderance of the evidence—a lower standard than “beyond a reasonable doubt” in criminal cases. Furthermore, wrongful death lawsuits can be filed in addition to criminal charges (assuming the defendant is still alive).
Wrongful death lawsuits have a two-year statute of limitations: the claim must be filed within two years of the accident. If successful, plaintiffs can recover damages like mental pain and suffering, lost income and benefits, loss of companionship or parental support, medical and funeral expenses and more.
If your loved one was killed as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness, call an experienced Bradenton, FL accident lawyer at Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh.