This information is particularly important to strengthen the wrongful death claim, since the decedent can no longer speak and testify on his/her behalf. The wrongful death case is governed by the Florida Wrongful Death Act discussed in this website under the Wrongful Death Link. Please contact our office to schedule a meeting to evaluate the facts of your case.
A wrongful death claim can arise from the negligence of another person or party. The circumstances include but are not limited to:
Automobile AccidentsVehicle RolloversConstruction AccidentsDangerous and Defective ProductsMedical MalpracticePremise Liability
The decedent’s survivors may be entitled to recover damages and the claim is brought through the personal representative of the estate. Each survivor is a potential beneficiary for the wrongful death claim.
The Florida Wrongful Death Act, 768.18 defines “Survivors” as:
The decedent’s spouse, children, parents and when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. It includes the child born out of wedlock of a mother, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father, unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support.
The Florida Wrongful Death Act 768.21 defines the damages for each potential beneficiary as follows:
(Note: the extent of damages for wrongful death resulting from medical malpractice is limited by Florida Statute).
768.21 Damages - All potential beneficiaries of a recovery for wrongful death, including the decedent’s estate, shall be identified in the complaint, and their relationships to the decedent shall be alleged. Damages may be awarded as follows:
Each survivor may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value.
In evaluating loss of support and services, the survivor’s relationship to the decedent, the amount of the decedent’s probable net income available for distribution to the particular survivor, and the replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor may be considered.
In computing the duration of future losses, the joint life expectancies of the survivor and the decedent and the period of minority, in the case of healthy minor children, may be considered.The surviving spouse may also recover for loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
Minor children of the decedent, and all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
For the purposes of this subsection, if both spouses die within 30 days of one another as a result of the same wrongful act or series of acts arising out of the same incident, each spouse is considered to have been predeceased by the other.
Each parent of a deceased minor child may also recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Each parent of an adult child may also recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors.
Medical or funeral expenses due to the decedent’s injury or death may be recovered by a survivor who has paid them.The decedent’s personal representative may recover for the decedent’s estate the following:
Loss of earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the date of death, less lost support of survivors excluding contributions in kind, with interest.
Loss of the prospective net accumulations of an estate, which might reasonably have been expected but for the wrongful death, reduced to present money value, may also be recovered:
If the decedent’s survivors include a surviving spouse or lineal descendants; or If the decedent is not a minor child as defined in s. 768.18 (2), there are no lost support and services recoverable under subsection (1), and there is a surviving parent.
Medical or funeral expenses due to the decedent’s injury or death that have become a charge against her or his estate or that were paid by or on behalf of decedent, excluding amounts recoverable under subsection (5). Evidence of remarriage of the decedent’s spouse is admissible.
All awards for the decedent’s estate are subject to the claims of creditors who have complied with the requirements of probate law concerning claims.
The damages specified in subsection (3) shall not be recoverable by adult children and the damages specified in subsection (4) shall not be recoverable by parents of an adult child with respect to claims for medical negligence as defined by s.766.106(1).
Evaluating the liability issues, potential parties and damages involved in a wrongful death claim may be relatively complex particularly if there are several potential defendants.
Our firm handles wrongful death cases on a contingency fee basis. You are not responsible for fees and costs, if no recovery.
Contact ADVOCATES OF JUSTICE, P.A., A Private Law Firm, for a FREE consultation and evaluation of your case. Call Today!
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