According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), there were 341,399 collisions in Florida, 3,098 of which involved at least one fatality in 2020. That works out to about 0.91 percent of all crashes for that year being fatal. While only a small percentage of traffic collisions are deadly, they still kill many people; more than 3,000 Floridians lost their lives in traffic collisions in 2020.
If you look at state statistics from 2011 to 2020, you will see that the numbers for total accidents, fatal accidents, and traffic fatalities have increased each year. In fact, in 2011, there were only 2,214 fatal accidents out of 227,998 total accidents. This increase is concerning, as it could indicate that more drivers are acting negligently behind the wheel.
Where do Most Florida Fatal Accidents Occur?
In 2020, certain Florida counties experienced a greater number of fatal accidents than others. It should come as no surprise that the county with the highest number of traffic fatalities in 2020 is one of the largest counties in Florida: Miami-Dade. The top five Florida counties for fatal traffic collisions in 2020 include:
- Miami-Dade County – 314 traffic fatalities
- Broward County – 268 traffic fatalities
- Hillsborough County – 213 traffic fatalities
- Palm Beach County – 185 traffic fatalities
- Orange County – 174 traffic fatalities
If you lost a loved one to a fatal accident in any of these communities, you should speak to a South Florida car accident lawyer to see if you are eligible for compensation.
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What Types of Injuries Cause Traffic Fatalities?
While only 0.91 percent of all Florida accidents in 2020 were fatal, there were still 3,332 lives lost in these fatal crashes. Many fatal accidents are head-on collisions where the front ends of two vehicles collide as the vehicles head towards each other. The strong impact can result in one or more of these life-ending injuries:
- Head or brain injurie– Many accident victims hit their heads on a hard surface (e.g., pavement, steering wheel), suffer a jolt to the head (e.g., whiplash), or experience other forms of head trauma. They are sometimes unable to recover from their traumatic brain injuries. Even if the victim survives, brain injuries can have lifelong consequences, affecting a person’s ability to walk, communicate, or otherwise function.
- Chest injuries – If the victim receives a crush injury to the chest in a head-on collision or another type of crash, they may suffer internal bleeding and severe, irreparable damage to their internal organs.
- Burns – In many accidents, vehicles catch on fire, and victims cannot recover from the severe burns all over their bodies.
- Neck and spinal cord injuries– If an accident victim breaks their spinal cord or neck due to the impact, their injuries may instantly result in death.
Even when these injuries aren’t fatal, they often require extensive medical care. Some who suffer severe car accident injuries develop lifelong disabilities. Such injuries could warrant substantial financial recovery.
Why do These Accidents Occur?
Fatal accidents occur for a multitude of reasons, including:
- Driver errors – When a driver engages in irresponsible behavior behind the wheel (e.g., texting, driving drunk, driving recklessly), they are more likely to make a mistake that could cost someone their life. For example, a person driving recklessly may follow the vehicle in front of them too closely at high speed so that when the vehicle stops, they are unable to brake in time and end up rear-ending the vehicle.
- Poor roadway maintenance – Debris, potholes, and other poor road conditions may cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash into other vehicles or barriers.
- Defective vehicles – Brake failure, steering mechanism failure, improperly treaded tires, and other defects may cause a serious accident, particularly if the vehicle travels at high speed.
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You Could Recover Compensation If Your Loved One Died in a Car Accident
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, our wrongful death lawyers could help you seek compensation for your financial and emotional losses. Some compensation you could be entitled to recover in a wrongful death case includes:
- Your loved one’s final medical bills
- Property damage
- Your loved one’s pain and suffering before their death
- Loss of support
- Lost financial contributions
- Loss of companionship
- Your family’s pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial or cremation expenses
A personal injury lawyer from our Fort Lauderdale firm can take on your case and seek damages for your family. All you have to do is focus on grieving the loss of your loved one.
Who Qualifies to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
In Florida, a representative of the deceased’s estate must initiate the case for financial recovery. However, part of this legal process involves listing the individuals who can receive compensation from this action. These generally include:
- The spouse
- Children (minor and adult)
- Other dependents
Parties That Could Be Liable for You and Your Loved One’s Losses
The following parties could be responsible for your losses resulting from your loved one’s death:
Your Loved One’s Insurance Company
In Florida, drivers must carry personal injury protection (PIP) insurance. Your loved one’s insurance policy could cover up to $5,000 in death benefits, according to Florida Statutes § 627.736. The insurance company might also cover their medical expenses before their death, if any, and property damage.
We can negotiate for a settlement from your loved one’s insurance company and tell you what you are entitled to.
The At-Fault Driver’s Insurance Company
When another driver causes your loved one’s death through negligence, we can seek a settlement through their insurance company.
Sometimes, the insurance company is unwilling to negotiate fairly. We can file a lawsuit against the at-fault driver to seek compensation in these cases.
Other parties that could be liable for your losses would include government agencies (if an issue under a municipality’s control, such as a road defect, contributed to the accident) and a company if an employee caused your loved one’s death while working in the scope of their employment.
What a Car Accident Attorney Could Do for Your Case
Hiring legal representation can have a wealth of benefits for your case. Most importantly, you’ll always have someone in your corner advocating for your family. The aftermath of an unexpected death can leave you facing difficult circumstances—a lawyer from our firm is here to take the legal matters off your plate. Our attorneys will explain all you need to know about underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage and uninsured motorist policies so can make the best choices for your case. We will also help you understand your legal options and even overcome the shortcomings of your PIP insurance.
Some of our services include:
- Giving you the space to talk about what happened during a free consultation
- Explaining your legal options so you can choose the best path
- Investigating the death to determine what caused it and who is responsible
- Finding witnesses who can offer insight and support for your case
- Collecting evidence to build a compelling case for financial recovery
- Submitting the paperwork for your case promptly
- Calculating your family’s wrongful death damages
- Representing you in front of insurance companies and the court
- Negotiating for a settlement that addresses your expenses and losses
- Preparing your family for each next phase in the case, including going to trial if necessary
We tailor our services to your needs and only take payment when we win your case. That way, you don’t have to worry about adding to your financial burden. In addition, you’ll have a direct line to your attorney for any questions that arise. The only thing you should think about is reaching out as soon as possible to get started.
The Time Limit for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Florida law outlines a specific window within which you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Per Florida Statutes § 95.11(4)(d), you generally have two years to seek compensation for a loved one’s untimely passing. Once this deadline passes, you lose your right to sue.
Two years can go by quickly, so although a lawsuit may be the furthest thing from your mind at this moment, you don’t want to wait long. If you hire an attorney from our firm, we can take it from there and ensure your case stays on track for a timely filing.
The Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Can Help
At the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine, our goal is to fight for justice on behalf of accident victims and their families. Our personal injury attorneys can help handle your insurance company and the legal claim filing process when another party caused or contributed to your loved one’s death.
As our firm follows a contingency fee policy, you pay nothing to have us work on your case. We can put our resources to work at no out-of-pocket cost to you while you focus on your family. Call 1-800-747-3733 to find out how we can assist you during a free consultation with the team.
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