Frequently Asked Questions:
Fatal Bicycle Accidents
Lately, there have been a number of hit and run accidents in the news involving bicyclists and pedestrians who were seriously hurt or, tragically killed. In cases where the driver flees and is not identified, is there insurance to pay the losses to the injured or to the loved ones of the deceased? What compensation would be possible beyond the PIP?
A: This is a great question because these tragic accidents should be used by all of us to look at our own insurance coverage and make sure we have what we need.
If the pedestrian or cyclist owns a car insured with PIP/No Fault, or if they lived with certain family members who own an insured vehicle, the no-fault benefits would apply to them. That means $10,000 in medical expenses/lost wage benefits/attendant care, as well as other benefits would cover them. PIP also pays a $5000 death benefit to help families with funeral expenses.
This is where the need for Uninsured Motorist becomes clear. This valuable insurance pays for any loss or injury suffered by the injured, or the survivors of the deceased, for the loss of their loved one. In many ways it is the most important coverage we can carry. It protects us from the hit and run driver, as well as from drivers who carry no insurance or too little of it. Keep in mind, the vast majority of drivers in Florida do not have insurance or they have too little of it. Make sure you look at your policy and buy the most UM you can afford. I recommend $1 million.
A: The victim’s personal representative can file a Florida wrongful death claim after a fatal pedestrian or bicycle accident. In most cases, the personal representative falls into one of these categories:
- the decedent’s spouse;
- the decedent’s children;
- the decedent’s parents;
- the executor of a decedent’s estate; and/or
- other relatives or individuals named in the decedent’s will.
If none of these people are able to act as a personal representative, a judge may appoint a personal representative to advocate for the decedent’s rights in a wrongful death trial.
Statute of Limitations
Anyone who is dealing with the loss of a loved one is very likely overwhelmed by powerful emotions as well as funeral planning and other responsibilities. Unfortunately, the decision about whether to file a Florida wrongful death claim cannot be delayed indefinitely.
Florida law requires that in the event of a fatal bicycle or pedestrian accident, the decedent’s personal representative has 2 years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible. This is known as the statute of limitations.
If the statute of limitations expires, the personal representative will not be able to seek compensation for the loss of their loved one; so it is important to retain a Clearwater wrongful death lawyer well before the statute of limitations expires.
Damages in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
In a Florida wrongful death claim, the victim’s family is eligible to receive several types of compensation, including:
- burial and funeral expenses;
- hospitalization and other medical costs prior to death;
- lost wages or salary which the victim would have earned had the accident not occurred;
- mental anguish; and
- pain and suffering.
If you wish to file a Florida wrongful death claim as a result of a fatal pedestrian or bike accident, you should contact a Clearwater wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Before accepting a settlement offer, contact the Law Offices of James. W. Dodson to schedule a no cost consultation at 1-888-340-0840.
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