A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit (i.e. not a criminal proceeding) that occurs when the negligence or wrongful act of one person results in the unfortunate death of another. Here’s our 101 guide to Florida wrongful death lawsuits and damages.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
There may be nothing more traumatizing than the tragic death of a loved one. But it’s particularly pernicious when the death is due to the negligence or recklessness of another. Wrongful death cases can occur in a number of different contexts, including motorcycle accidents, auto accidents, and pedestrian accidents.
In every wrongful death case, many states – including Florida – have statutes that allow family and/or beneficiaries to file suit and recover damages for the wrongful death of the deceased victim. This law, as you can imagine, is imperative to getting compensation for those who have had a family member die due to the negligence of another.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Florida law requires the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate to file the wrongful death claim. The personal representative may be named in the deceased person’s will or estate plan. If there is no will or estate plan, the personal representative will be appointed by the court.
Although the wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative, it is filed on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and any surviving family members. The personal representative of someone who perished in a wrongful death claim is responsible for putting together a list of those survivors who (legally speaking) have an interest in the case.
Family members who may recover damages in a Florida wrongful death case may include:
- The deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents; and
- Any family member and or relative who is, at least in part, financially or otherwise depended on the deceased person for support and or services.
Wrongful death claims can be filed for the following reasons (among other things) :
- Workplace hazards;
- Automobile accidents;
- Intentional criminal actions;
- Medical malpractice;
- Defective or mislabeled products.
Typical Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Florida Statutes section 768.21 sets out the state’s rules for awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Surviving beneficiaries and family members in wrongful death cases may expect damages for things including:
- The financial value of the support and/or services that the deceased person provided for the person who’s filing the wrongful death suit;
- Loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person;
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss;
- Medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for.
A deceased person’s estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include:
- Lost wages, benefits and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived;
- An estate’s “lost prospective net accumulations” of the estate, which refers to how much money the persons living descendants could reasonably have expected to earn if the deceased person was not killed;
- Medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.
Experienced Wrongful Death Claim Attorney
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death claim due to a loss in Florida, and need a wrongful death law firm to provide personalized and comprehensive service, give Marsalisi Law a call today at 727-800-5052 for a free, no-obligation consultation. Marsalisi Law is Where Law Gets Personal.