Tractor-Trailer Crash Kills Driver In Broward County
In late November 2023, a tractor-trailer crash on I-95 killed one person and shut down traffic for several hours. A black sedan struck the rear right side of the tractor-trailer, which then caused the driver to lose control, striking the median and overturning the vehicle as it burst into flames. The sedan driver was unhurt, but the tractor-trailer driver was pronounced deceased at the scene. Tractor-trailer accidents can cause serious injuries and fatalities to all involved, though it is more common for drivers and passengers in personal vehicles to experience this. Regardless, the family of a person who lost their life in a tractor-trailer accident may be able to file suit to seek money damages for the loss.
Several Potential Types of Damages
Whether commercial driver or private individual, the family of a person who was killed as a result of another person’s negligence has the right to file suit against them for wrongful death. The specific statute defines wrongful death as one caused by the “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach …” of a person, for which the injured person could have potentially sued and recovered damages if they had lived. So, if a person is killed in an auto accident, and it can be established that the defendant would have been liable had they lived, the defendant can then be held liable for the death.
It may feel wrong to many families to seek money damages for losing a loved one, but it is your right to do so, and it can help to stabilize the family finances if the deceased person was the only breadwinner. You may be able to recover compensation for not only medical bills, but also lost wages, funeral expenses, and in some cases, ‘non-economic’ damages like pain and suffering. In some cases, you may even be able to recover damages to your vehicle, though if your loved one was driving commercially, the vehicle is owned by their employer, so that option will not be on the proverbial table.
Wrongful Death vs Workers’ Compensation
It is important to keep in mind that if your loved one was killed on the job, they must seek workers’ compensation benefits unless one of two factors is present: (1) if their employer does not carry workers’ compensation insurance; or (2) if their employer’s actions were intentionally calculated to cause harm. Workers’ compensation benefits are designed to be paid in cases of negligence or accident – intentionally causing an injury is not negligent. If your loved one was not on the clock at the time of their accident, though, your family may be able to file suit against the person or entity who caused their passing.
If your deceased loved one was doing their job at the time of their accident, your family may have to choose between filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the person whose negligence caused their passing, and receiving workers’ compensation death benefits. In Florida, workers’ compensation death benefits will generally cover funeral expenses up to $7,500, weekly payments up to the total amount of $150,000, and educational benefits for the surviving spouse to help ease their reentry to the workforce if required. Wrongful death lawsuits may recover more simply because one can seek non-economic damages like pain and suffering in addition to standard benefits.
Contact A Tampa Wrongful Death Attorney
While the investigation into the accident in Broward County is ongoing as of this writing, it is important to know your rights and responsibilities if your family has been so unlucky as to lose someone in such a tragic manner. A Tampa wrongful death attorney from the Rinaldo Law Group can guide you through what can be an incredibly difficult time in life. Call our office today for a free consultation.