Can You File an Injury Claim Against a Deceased Person?Jacksonville Accident News
When devastating injuries are the result of any type of accident, the aftermath can have a wide range of troubling outcomes. Victims not only will have to manage the recovery process of their physical wounds, but they may also have to endure emotional trauma. As a victim works through their mental and physical damages, personal relationships they have with others can be negatively impacted.
Also, paying for medical care is an expensive proposition. If a victim needs extensive therapies, medicines, and other medical treatments, the cost could be overwhelming. Paying for all of these expenses can eat away at savings and at any other forms of wealth, a victim may have. Also, a victim with significant injuries may not be able to work and earn a paycheck.
This is why the personal injury claim process exists. Because when accidents happen, and they will, victims could have the option of pursuing a claim for compensation for their damages. Car accidents are some of the most prevalent types of injury accidents where claims are frequently filed.
If you live in the state of Florida and were injured in the Jacksonville area, speaking to a Jacksonville personal injury attorney is recommended. You do not have to work with an attorney after an accident in Florida, but it can be incredibly beneficial to protecting your rights and getting the most from a personal injury claim. The Jacksonville car accident attorneys at Law Offices of Sheftall & Associates will evaluate your accident situation and fight on your behalf to secure the most favorable outcome.
Who Pays for the Damages after a Florida Car Accident?
Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles report that so far in 2021, there have been more than 260,000 traffic accidents throughout Florida so far. These incidents have led to well over 160,000 injuries.
Florida is a no-fault state. What this means for victims of injury accidents is that paying for the damages comes first, through their own personal injury protection coverage. Only once the PIP coverage is maxed out, can a victim sue the negligent party for the overages that their damages cost. This happens when a person can prove that their injuries were very serious.
What Happens When The Person that Causes Your Serious Car Accident Dies?
It does happen, a car accident can take place and the driver who is responsible loses their life in it. It can also happen that the person causing an accident does not die at the accident scene but, instead, sometime during legal proceedings against them. When a person dies in or after an accident, the complexity for a victim to obtain compensation increases.
This type of situation can be incredibly challenging. Speaking to one of the Jacksonville personal injury lawyers at Sheftall Law can help victims navigate these difficult legal cases. It may be possible to file a suit against the deceased’s estate. Under Florida injury law, a person that causes an accident does not avoid liability when they die.
Still, the procedure for doing so is very involved. The party filing a claim must adhere to the procedural rules. Missteps within these strict requirements could mean that a victim may forfeit their rights to compensation.
When a person dies in an accident, Florida’s claim rules state that a court can order the replacement of a person when they die in an accident or soon after. A substitute would likely be either a decedent’s representative or the person responsible for the administration of the estate. The substitution must be done, though, within 90 days.
It may be necessary that plaintiffs that are in the midst of litigation will also have to file a claim against others that are looking to be paid from the deceased estate. It is very likely that the estate is going to be subject to creditors wanting to have their debts paid. There are also very specific steps that must be taken to actually file a claim itself.
Several roadblocks can arise during the process of filing against a deceased’s estate. For one, the personal representative who was substituted for the deceased can also die. Should this be the case, the path to obtaining compensation can become a confusing labyrinth of legal maneuvers.
Can Punitive Damages Still Exist When a Defendant Dies After a Florida Car Accident?
Understanding what punitive damages are is key to grasping how the laws work. Punitive damages are meant to be exactly as their name implies, punitive, or a punishment. These damages are assessed on rare occasions when the actions of a negligent party were so outrageous and horrifying that a judge will decide the person needs to learn a lesson and be punished for their behavior.
Now, when a person who would have likely been forced to pay punitive damages dies, they are no longer able to reap those consequences. Therefore, punitive damages can not do what they are meant to do. Because Florida injury laws do not believe it is right to apply punitive damages to an estate, a victim will not be able to secure this extra financial compensation from their injury claim.
Even though punitive damages are off of the table when a defendant dies, treble damages may still be applied. Treble damage is the term that is used to describe an instance where a court may choose to apply three times the actual financial losses. When a claim is made it is important to demand both punitive and treble damages.
Speak to a Florida Car Accident Attorney Today
Filing a Florida personal injury claim can be hard by itself and victims may have to deal with many obstacles along the way. When a suit is filed against a deceased person, a victim’s ability to be compensated for their damages becomes challenging, at best. So many things can happen and the procedural rules in Florida make these claims highly complicated.
The Jackson personal injury lawyers at Sheftall law can help victims with their claims and support them with their efforts for both pecuniary and non-pecuniary damages. Call Sheftall Law today to schedule a free consultation at (904) 638-7712.