As a Miami truck accident legal team, we regularly receive calls regarding fatal truck and car crashes and we can never say enough how every single call is terrible. Our first thought is always to offer our most sincere condolences to those who lost a loved one. But we can advise what legal options might at least bring financial relief, which might eventually help with emotional healing because having to get through life and pay bills can be near to impossible after losing someone you love.
If you have any question related to the value of a fatal truck accident case, please call 305.416.9805 immediately. We'd like to answer whatever questions you might have about how best to maximize cash value. After a fatal truck accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible.
When you have tragically lost someone you love as a result of a fatal truck crash, there are some important things to consider. Ideally, we would talk to you immediately after the crash, so that we can preserve any necessary evidence.
As an example, we may want or need to talk to any witnesses, or the police officers investigating the case. We also might want to buy the vehicle, so that we can prove airbags didn't properly deploy. Our next job is to stop you from saying anything to witnesses or insurance companies that could hurt your case, and gather evidence. The sooner we start, the better we can do that job.
However, we still can get a high value for the case, even if a long time has passed, as long as there is some way of proving who caused the accident.
Who can recover the full case value following a wrongful death?
The first thing to consider is who can make a wrongful death claim after a truck accident in Florida. The rules get somewhat complicated. Generally, a spouse or child can recover, although the amount of recovery varies depending on their age and next-of-kin relationship to the person who died. A girlfriend or boyfriend cannot recover.
A spouse and children under 25 will recover the highest wrongful death case value. For children over 25, if there is no surviving spouse, they can still recover a high value. However, if there is a surviving spouse, they would need to be financially dependent, and unable to work, to recover any money. Very rarely, other financially dependent blood relatives can also recover (must be 100% financially dependent and in true need of support, for example, a disabled person).
The amount of coverage is a factor in case value
Recently, we have settled one fatal truck accident case for 25K, another for 80K, another for 100K, and another for 2M. What was the difference? Well, believe it or not, the only important case value difference was the amount of insurance coverage. Those were the policy limits of the defendant drivers, combined with uninsured motorist coverage, all available combined insurance policies were those amounts.
The 2M dollar case involved semi-trailer truck, so the policy limits were much higher than an average non-commercial vehicle. Many cars have insurance coverage ranging from 100K to 300K. Occasionally a non-commercial vehicle will have 1M in available coverage. Commercial vehicles are usually, but not always, 1M plus.
But some motor vehicles have no coverage at all. Unfortunately, in these types of cases, we can not help you, because the defendant driver doesn't have a penny of insurance or, also, assets. Other motor vehicles have lower amounts of coverage, like 50K to 100K.
Also, depending on the type of motor vehicle or type of accident there are some Florida laws that require various amounts of insurance. For example, a Florida statute protects leaseholders from liability, so the vast majority of leased vehicles have at least 100/300K (the maximum any one person can recover is 100K, and the maximum per accident is 300K) in bodily injury insurance coverage.
Other Florida and federal statutes require higher amounts of insurance coverage for semi-trucks. Regular automobile drivers and motorcycle riders aren't required to have any bodily injury coverage, but many do.
Sometimes there can be coverage above the bodily injury liability insurance, or there might be a commercial policy for someone driving their vehicle for work but no one investigates to find that coverage. At The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary, we carefully check all of those things and may also pursue a product defect case against the auto manufacturer, for example, because the airbags failed to deploy.
Bottom line, we always carefully investigate the facts and review the law to verify any possibility of additional coverage. However, even with lower policy amounts, we have to work hard to get the full amount. Today's insurance companies have only one goal: to pay you the least amount of money possible.
Although adjusters will be helpful, their questions are designed to get information that lowers your case value. So, please, do not talk to adjusters. Before giving any statements, you need an attorney by your side. We have had great success getting the full policy limits in many of our wrongful death cases.
The closeness of the relationship matters
The value of the pain and suffering damages depends on the closeness of the relationship between the person filing the claim and the person who died. If a spouse died, if the person was completely estranged, or separated, then we have a more difficult job getting the full policy limits.
However, even for an estranged relationship, there can still be a very high value worth pursuing. We just have to dig to discover whether there were forms of communication and connection, for example, any personal visits, letters, or phone calls, and over what period. We dig very hard to uncover the evidence that will help us prove that the connection meant something important.
Contact a Miami truck accident lawyer
If you have lost a loved one after a fatal truck crash, please call or text our office in Miami for an appointment. Our phone number is 305.416.9805. We handle fatal truck accident cases throughout Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward, Fort Lauderdale, and Palm Beach Counties.