Losing a loved one is unimaginably hard. After suffering a tragic loss, families can be rocked emotionally and financially, especially if the loss is unexpected.
Florida laws allow for families to file wrongful death suits to help alleviate some of the financial strain they may be experiencing. While the damages you’re paid will never compensate for your loss or your loved one’s life, damages can help ease your struggles.
Before discussing the damages available in a Florida wrongful death case, we will walk through what the legal definition of wrongful death is and who is eligible to file a claim.
What Is Wrongful Death?
In Florida, wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of the negligent actions of another person or entity. Many people file wrongful death claims after someone’s reckless, intentional actions cause a loved one’s death. Common wrongful death cases include:
- Car accidents
- Medical procedures
- Defective products
- And more
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
According to the Florida Wrongful Death Act (see Florida Statues § 768.16-768.26), a wrongful death suit can be brought forward by the decedent’s personal representative. This representative (also referred to as an executor) brings the action forward for the decedent’s survivors, which can include:
- Adult or minor children
- Any blood relative or adoptive sibling “who partly or wholly relies on their support or services”
To file a wrongful death claim, the executor will need the names of the individuals seeking damages on behalf of the decedent. They must also file the claim within two years of the decedent’s passing.
Available Damages in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
State law recognizes six instances under which a court may award damages to survivors. These instances are as follows:
- Each survivor may recover damages for the loss of past and future support and services.
- Survivors, who pay for medical or funeral expenses, can be reimbursed for those bills.
- The victim’s spouse is entitled to additional damages, specifically non-economic damages. These aim to compensate the spouse for loss of companionship as well as pain and suffering.
- Similar to the spouse’s right to recover, minor children are also entitled to additional damages. Minor children may recover damages for lost parental companionship, instruction, guidance, pain, and suffering. In certain circumstances, adult children will also be able to recover these damages.
- Parents may recover additional damages for the wrongful death of their children in two circumstances. If the child was a minor, then the parents may recover for mental pain and suffering. If the child was an adult and there were no other survivors, the parents might still be able to recover for mental pain and suffering.
- The deceased’s estate may recover damages for lost wages as well as medical and funeral expenses. The estate’s right to recover damages depends on several legal factors, including the damages awarded above.
Speak with Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Today
If you have lost a loved one, it is best to speak with our experienced wrongful death lawyers. The Watson Firm, PLLC is dedicated to representing grieving families in wrongful death suits. We will take the time necessary to answer all your questions and explain your options thoroughly.
To schedule your free, initial consultation, reach out to our firm online or at (850) 607-2929.