On a Friday night in October of this year, the Florida Highway Patrol was called to the scene of a hit-and-run accident in Orange County. The victims, a 59-year-old male and a 45-year-old female, were walking on the sidewalk, crossing the driveway in front of a local business. A vehicle attempting to exit the parking lot collided with the two pedestrians before fleeing the scene, according to the FHP.
The female victim was taken to the hospital and treated for minor personal injuries, Orlando Regional Medical Center released her soon after.
Sadly, the male victim was rushed to the hospital in critical condition and later died from his injuries.
The accident remains under investigation.
Unfortunately, stories like these are becoming all too common in Orlando. This is just one report of many. According to Florida Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle, 1 in 4 crashes involved a hit-and-run in 2014. “Hit and run crashes involving fatalities increased 23 percent from 2013 to 2014.” they report. So, what do you do if someone you love was killed by a hit-and-run driver? What are your rights? Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
When this happens, the last thing on your mind is filing a lawsuit. You are grieving, but in the days that follow you may find you have suffered more than just emotionally. Accidents such as these can ruin the immediate family or dependents financially. Loss of wages, medical expenses, diminished quality of life, loss of companionship. Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys can help protect your rights and can ensure that if you are in need of financial compensation there is someone on your side.
Unfortunately, in some hit-and-run cases, the facts of the investigation will lead police officers to a dead-end. Even so, it is important to bring the case to the attention of a lawyer. In Orlando, Personal Injury Attorneys can help you evaluate your loved ones insurance policy to determine to what extent, if any, they were protected by uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage.
In Florida, with the help of a Personal Injury Attorney, a representative of the survivors who suffer damages from the decedent’s death can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These representatives are called Real Parties in Interest and are those who suffer from the loss – both emotionally and financially. Real Parties in Interest can also be the executor of the decedent’s estate. In most civil courts, real parties of interest can include one or more of the following:
•Immediate family (as defined as, spouses, children – including adopted children, and parents of unmarried children): All 50 states allow immediate family members to file a wrongful death suit and collect damages.
•Financial dependents, Life or Domestic partnerships: Most states permit life partners, being any person who was financially dependent on the deceased (such as domestic partners sharing a home together) to file a wrongful death claim. A “putative spouse” may also file. A putative spouse is an unmarried person with a reasonable belief that he or she would soon be married to the victim – such as a fiancé.
•Distant family members: In some cases, family members such as grandparents or siblings may file wrongful death lawsuits. For example, a grandparent who is raising the child of the deceased may be able sue for damages.
•Any person who suffers financially: In some instances individuals who suffer financial loss caused by an accidental death might be allowed to pursue a wrongful death claim. In such cases, the claimant cites lost care or support.
The favorable results in a settlement or verdict can depend greatly on the circumstances behind the decedent’s death. If you are a “Real Party in Interest” and wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is imperative to obtain legal representation. Orlando Personal Injury Attorneys Cohen Battisti Grossman can help protect your rights, help you build a strong case, compile evidence that will demonstrate fault or negligence, and fight for fair compensation for your loss.