While we often expect truck drivers to drive with care, accidents can still happen. Unfortunately, the size of these vehicles often makes them more destructive to people and property than other types of car crashes. You would then suffer the grief of losing a loved one and the costs accrued due to their passing.
If your loved one died in a recent trucking collision here in Melbourne, you could have the right to recover damages through a settlement. Let us look at some of the relevant laws and requirements in your case and how you can have a Melbourne fatal truck accident lawyer work with you through your situation. Our truck accident lawyers can handle your case from start to finish.
Who Is Qualified to File Fatal Truck Accident Actions?
Under Florida Statutes Section 768.20, only your loved one’s personal representative can file the action on behalf of the surviving family and the deceased’s estate. They must specify all the beneficiaries who can receive a share of the Melbourne fatal accident settlement.
In probate law, a personal representative is an individual or entity the decedent has entrusted to carry out the contents of their will, pay taxes and unpaid debts using the estate, and allocate the rest of the estate to the beneficiaries.
The Melbourne fatal truck accident attorney can assist the personal representative with the steps involved in filing for damages against the liable truck driver. These include compiling proof of the accident and listing the damages suffered due to your loved one’s passing.
Fatalities Let You File Third-Party Actions
In a typical Melbourne motor vehicle accident, you can only use your Personal Injury Protection or PIP insurance to cover your damages. However, Florida’s tort exemption laws let you file for damages against the at-fault party if you meet the tort thresholds. One of the conditions that qualify is if there was a fatality.
Liability insurance claims and wrongful death lawsuits are the two main actions you can take to recover fatal accident damages in Melbourne. A Melbourne fatal truck accident lawyer can help assess whether it would be more suitable to file a claim or a suit.
Liability Insurance Can Cover Fatal Accidents
Due to the insurance requirements set by Florida Statutes Section 627.7415 and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, trucking companies traversing Melbourne must carry liability coverage just as they should throughout Florida. When the truck gets involved in an accident, the coverage pays for the damages their victims accrue. These also extend to death-related damages.
A truck employer’s liability insurance only covers drivers if a fatal accident happens within the scope of their duty. So, for instance, if the driver caused the crash while doing personal errands, you must file with their personal auto insurance provider instead. However, the state’s auto insurance laws only require property liability and PIP insurance.
Besides helping you file with the liability insurer, the Melbourne fatal truck accident lawyer can negotiate on your behalf if you find their settlement offers unsatisfactory.
You Can Also File Fatal Accident Lawsuits
Lawsuits are typically your next option if you cannot recover with a liability claim. The fatal truck accident lawyer in Melbourne, FL, may advise you to file this action due to circumstances such as:
- The trucker’s liability coverage cannot fully repay you.
- They may also be uninsured.
- Evidence shows that the accident happened due to gross negligence or intentional actions, which insurance companies typically do not cover.
Unlike claims, your recovery in a fatal accident lawsuit does not depend on how much coverage the at-fault Melbourne trucker carries. This means they may pay you through other means if the court awards you an amount higher than their policy limits.
Lawsuits can take a long time to finish due to the filing processes and court proceedings involved. However, the Melbourne fatal truck accident lawyer can represent you in court until you get a verdict.
Complying with Filing Deadlines
Your Melbourne fatal truck accident case has the same statute of limitations or filing deadlines as other wrongful death actions. That means you generally have up to two years to file before your cause gets automatically dismissed.
The fatal accident lawyer can see that your case is progressing on schedule by checking for pending tasks so they can help you finish them faster.
For a free legal consultation with a truck accidents lawyer serving Melbourne, call 321-503-4014
Damages in Fatal Truck Accident Settlements
The Melbourne fatal truck accident lawyer can assist with calculating your fatal trucking accident’s total damages. In wrongful death actions such as these, the damages can be separated into two types: the ones awarded to the family and those that go to the estate.
The first type includes damages such as:
- Funeral expenses
- Any medical expenses accrued if the loved one was hospitalized before passing away
- Loss of the loved one’s guidance, services, and financial support
- Emotion trauma and anguish
Meanwhile, damages awarded to the estate include:
- The value that would have increased the estate had the loved one lived
- Loss of insurance benefits and wages
- Accident-related expenses paid using the estate
Comparative Fault Still Affects Recovery of Death-related Damages
Florida’s comparative negligence rules can still reduce your recoverable damages if the court or claims adjuster finds your loved one partly liable for the Melbourne fatal trucking accident.
To illustrate, let us assume the Melbourne trucking company is at fault for not securing their cargo properly, causing it to fall off the truck. Meanwhile, evidence also reveals that your loved one was speeding, which worsened the impact when they collided with the fallen cargo. As a result, the trucker is 70 percent liable, while your loved one’s liability is 30 percent. That also means the trucker only owes you 70 percent of the total accident damages.
Such a rule makes it vital to have the Melbourne fatal truck accident lawyer review the entire accident first to see whether you have a valid case against the truckers.
Melbourne Truck Accident Lawyer Near Me 321-503-4014
Work With Our Melbourne Truck Accident Wrongful Death Lawyers
The office of Andrew Pickett Law is always ready to help those in need of legal assistance after suffering from the wrongful death of a loved one in Melbourne or anywhere else in Florida. While our firm started serving injury clients in 2009, the team comprises professionals with decades of personal injury law experience. Our Melbourne fatal truck accident lawyer can review your case and advise you accordingly.
Call us today to start your free consultation. You can also send in your fatal accident details through our website, and we will get back to you shortly after.
Call or text 321-503-4014 or complete a Free Case Evaluation form