A pedestrian was killed by a hit-and-run driver on Sunrise Avenue in Fort Lauderdale Florida. The victim was in his early 50s and had a family that will need assistance with legal action for his wrongful death. Hiring a competent accident attorney will be necessary to navigate this path. Leaving the scene of an accident causing death is a first-degree felony and comes with a maximum sentence of up to 30 years in prison and/or a $10,000 fine. The criminal offense will have significant bearing on any civil lawsuit outcomes.
No fault insurance.
Death benefits are available under Florida’s no fault insurance law, but may be limited to policy coverages. Funeral expenses may be paid by the victim’s no fault insurance or under a household member’s policy in certain circumstances, to be later recovered in a settlement from the at fault driver when appropriate.
Mandatory Insurance. State of Florida requirements are that motor vehicles must have current auto insurance coverage with a minimum requirement of $10,000 in personal injury protection (PIP) and $10,000 in property damage liability (PDL).
No-Fault Car Insurance. The Florida No-Fault Law requires drivers to carry the PIP and this no-fault coverage pays the insured’s bills, regardless of fault, up to the limit of the $5,000.
Under the Florida no fault law the PIP portion of the insurance may pay for a car accident victim’s losses including “death benefits” like ordinary funeral and burial expenses, and survivors’ benefits may also be available to the family or dependents of the deceased individual. Sometimes those benefits include lost earnings, pension payments and replacement services payments. The death has to be directly related to the use or operation of a motor vehicle to recover no fault death benefits of any sort, and it has to be ruled an accident, not a suicide by intentional act, which would block family members from receiving any benefits.
In Florida PIP covers up to $5,000 of death benefits per individual. Death benefits are in addition to the medical and disability benefits. The $5,000 death benefit is paid like a life insurance-type policy in a lump-sum. These benefits are paid to the executor or administrator of the deceased; or to any of the deceased’s relatives by blood, legal adoption, or marriage; or to any person appearing to the insurance company as equitably entitled to such benefits.
After a fatal automobile accident, the person seeking no-fault death benefits:
- Must give the insurance company (“insurer”) a copy of the death certificate
- Should gather information such as hospital and medical records, accident and police reports, the decedent’s tax and earnings information, and funeral bills and expenses
- Should use the forms provided by the insurer for filing claims, and
- Should determine if there’s more than one policy that covers the decedent, because in some states, the survivors can use multiple policies to recover more than once for the decedent’s death, which is called “stacking” of death benefits
Exclusions that would prevent the decedent from recovering no-fault benefits also bars the recovery of survivors’ benefits.
Call a lawyer.
If a family member or loved one has been killed by a vehicle, you may need the services of a knowledgeable attorney with a successful track record in personal injury accident and wrongful death cases. Call the Law Firm of King Lindsey for assistance.
King Lindsey, P.A.
633 South Federal Highway
Suite 200 B
Phone: (954) 867-6518