If you are filing a wrongful death claim in Florida, what damages can you recover from the offender?
In this post, we will explain how wrongful death works in our state, cover the various types of damages, and let you know how a skilled attorney can help you receive the compensation you deserve.
Florida Laws on Wrongful Death Claims
Florida law allows for wrongful death claims if a person died because of “the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person, including those occurring on navigable waters.” Damages can be collected beginning from the time of injury that led to your loved one’s death.
A successful wrongful death claim will award financial compensation to specific survivors, such as a spouse or child. The money awarded in the case can provide for the financial needs of the survivors after a loved one’s death.
Examples of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death claims can be filed for different reasons, including the following examples.
• Any error caused by someone else’s negligence
• Defective product
• Distracted driving
• Drunk driving
• Fires or explosions
• Medical malpractice
• Tractor-trailer truck accident
Who Can Floridians Hold Liable in Wrongful Death Claims?
A wrongful death claim can be filed against an individual or an entity depending on the details of the case.
A claim involving a distracted driver, for example, would be filed against an individual. For a tractor-trailer truck accident, however, one or more entities or individuals could be named in the claim, such as the company that owned the vehicle.
Under Florida law, any person who is a spouse, child, parent, adoptive sibling, or dependent blood relative of the decedent is eligible to file a wrongful death claim. The law states that whoever files must be partially or entirely dependent on the decedent for services or support.
If a child’s parents are unmarried when the child’s father dies, the child can file a claim only if the father was legally required to pay support to the child.
What You’re Suing For: Florida Wrongful Death Damages
Under the Florida Wrongful Death Statute, both the estate and surviving family members are eligible to recover damages in a wrongful death claim. These are the types of damages that can be recovered.
• Funeral expenses
• Loss of companionship and protection
• Loss of guidance for minor children
• Loss of instruction for minor children
• Loss of provided services
• Loss of support
• Medical expenses
• Mental and emotional pain and suffering
In each of these cases, the court considers the relationship to the decedent, probable future income and replacement value.
The estate can recover these types of damages:
• Expected value of the estate had the decedent lived
• Lost benefits
• Lost wages
• Medical and funeral expenses paid by the estate
• Other earnings
• Prospective net earnings
The start date of loss of earnings for the estate are calculated from the date of injury, plus interest. Certain cases could qualify for punitive damages. Check with a skilled Florida injury attorney to know what type of damages can be collected in your case.
Filing a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
The Florida statute of limitations requires that you file a wrongful death claim within two years of the decedent’s death. If you wait to file after two years have passed, you may not qualify for any damages listed above.
Remember, suing for wrongful death isn’t about putting a price on the life of your loved one – it’s about helping your family get back on track after their loss. It’s about holding those responsible accountable for their actions.
It’s about closure.
About the Author:
Since 1994, seasoned litigation and trial lawyer Anthony B. White has helped thousands of accident victims seek damages due to injuries sustained as a result of another party’s negligence. Included in America’s Registry of Outstanding Professionals and selected to the 2012, 2013, and 2014 editions of Florida Super Lawyers, Mr. White specializes in car accidents, insurance disputes, wrongful death, product liability, and medical malpractice cases. He is a longstanding member of the Florida Justice Association and the American Association for Justice and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Broward County Justice Association.