Dealing with the death of a family member is a difficult situation in a myriad of ways. If your loved one was the victim of a fatal auto accident in Florida, you may be eligible for compensation from Florida’s no fault death benefit. This death benefit is paid out directly to the deceased’s family from the insurance company and can be used to cover funeral costs up to a certain point.
Because the death benefit is often much smaller than what is necessary to cover the expenses related to the loss of a loved one, an experienced attorney can help you file any necessary claims against the liable party in order to recover additional damages.
What is the Florida No Fault Death Benefit?
When a person is the victim of a fatal accident in Florida, the deceased’s family can receive a $5,000 benefit under Florida’s No-Fault Law. This money is payable from a no-fault (personal injury protection) policy.
If the deceased had their own no-fault coverage on their policy, their own insurance company will pay Florida’s no fault death benefit. This insurance covers the deceased whether they were a bicyclist, pedestrian or a passenger in another vehicle. This benefit is also paid by the deceased’s insurance if the driver was in their own car, even if the fatal accident in Florida was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another driver.
If a bicyclist or pedestrian did not own a vehicle with no-fault coverage, Florida’s death benefit is covered under the responsible party’s insurance. This means that the insurance company for the driver who caused the accident pays the death benefit.
Who is Eligible to Receive Florida’s No Fault Death Benefit?
After a fatal accident, the insurance company can pay out the death benefit directly to the victim’s family. This money can be used to pay for the funeral expenses without having to the go through the estate process and appoint a personal representative. In order to receive Florida’s no fault death benefit, you must file with your insurance company a copy of the death certificate and a police report that proves the death involved a vehicle accident.
How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help?
After a fatal accident, a wrongful death attorney can help you fight for the maximum amount of compensation for your loss. By hiring an attorney as soon as possible, you can increase your chances of a favorable settlement.
A wrongful death attorney will start by launching an investigation of the accident right away. This may involve hiring an accident reconstruction specialist to uncover evidence that is favorable to your case. This specialist will go to the scene of the accident to take photographs, look for tire marks and interview witnesses in order to reconstruct the events that led to the fatal accident.
A wrongful death attorney will also look into the responsible party’s insurance coverage amounts and negotiate with the insurance company to reach a fair settlement for your family. If a fair settlement cannot be reached through negotiations, your attorney may take your case to trial in order to pursue damages that fairly address the magnitude of your loss.
Damages that Can be Fought for in a Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit May Include:
- hospital expenses for the treatment of your loved one from the time of the accident until their passing;
- the loss of wages contributed by the deceased;
- funeral costs beyond the $5,000 collected from the Florida no fault death benefit;
- loss of consortium;
- victim pain and suffering from the time of the accident up until death; and
- punitive damages (available only in very specific circumstances of grievous negligence or malicious intent).