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Is It Worthwhile To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit If The Driver Who Caused The Accident Can’t Pay?


If there are so many car accidents, why are there so few car accident lawsuits?  When you see how expensive the medical bills can be, even for minor injuries, and how little the insurance companies offer in terms of settlement money, you might expect everyone to sue.  One of the reasons that there are not more car accident lawsuits is that most people, with the help of personal injury lawyers, are able to get enough money to cover their accident-related expenses simply by negotiating with the insurance companies.  Another reason is that, even if you prevail in your lawsuit, most defendants cannot afford to pay the medical bills for someone else’s injuries.  This is especially true if the defendant is serving a prison sentence for the crime that led to the accident, such as DUI or reckless driving.  Despite this, you have the right to sue, whether or not the defendant can pay.  If you have lost a close family member as a result of a preventable car accident, a Jacksonville car accident lawyer can help you decide whether a wrongful death lawsuit is the best option.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Are Not Just About Money

In 2016, a court in Florida awarded Jeanne and Robert Lesniak $5 million in damages in their wrongful death lawsuit against the man who caused the accident that claimed the life of their mother Theresa Lesniak, 91.  One night in November 2013, Peter Ferreira was under the influence of alcohol and driving 77 miles per hour on a Marco Island road where the speed limit was 30 when he collided with Lesniak’s car, killing her instantly.  Ferreira was convicted of vehicular manslaughter; because he had two previous DUI convictions and one previous reckless driving conviction, the court sentenced him to 14 years in prison.

By the time the court issued its ruling, Ferreira was already serving his sentence.  Since most people in prison do not have $5 million, why would Lesniak’s children sue?  Robert Lesniak said that the lawsuit was about justice, not money.  He said that he hoped that the civil court’s ruling would persuade the criminal court to order Ferreira to serve his entire sentence instead of releasing him early.  In situations like these, plaintiffs are often able to receive a portion of the damages award from insurance companies.

Exercising Your Rights After Losing the Family Member Who Supported Your Family

The main purpose of wrongful death lawsuits is to compensate people for their financial losses resulting from the preventable and untimely death of a family member who supported them.  Even if you do not file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is often possible to get financial compensation from life insurance policies and other types of insurance related to the decedent or the party responsible for causing the fatal accident.

Contact Douglas & Douglas About Car Accident Cases

A North Florida wrongful death lawyer can help you if you lost your family’s main source of financial support because of your family member’s death in a preventable car accident.  Contact Douglas & Douglas in Jacksonville, Florida for a free consultation.



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