Wrongful death is the unexpected loss of life due to negligent, reckless or intentional acts of others.
The sudden onset of grief and emotional pain following a wrongful death are often compounded by unforeseen financial losses resulting from funeral expenses, medical bills and lost earnings of the deceased. Although monetary compensation can never fulfill the void left by the loss of a loved one, in our civil justice system it is the remedy available to you for the purpose of reducing any resulting financial loss and compensating you for your pain and suffering.
A wrongful death claim may be brought if a death was caused by negligent or reckless actions of another person or through a company, on behalf of the persons who qualify as “survivors” under Florida’s wrongful death statute. Depending on the case, it may be as a child, parent spouse or other relative. The Statute of Limitations for wrongful death claims is shorter than for most other types of injury cases, so it is extremely important to have a wrongful death attorney review the facts and evaluate your potential case as soon as possible.
Wrongful death cases are governed by Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. The Wrongful Death law allows, under Florida Statute § 768.21, for recovery of numerous types of damages. The extent of the recoverable damages necessarily depends on the facts of the wrongful death case. Some of the damages recoverable in a wrongful death case are as follows:
- Loss of support and services of the decedent may be awarded to spouse, children or next of kin
- Surviving spouse may recover for loss of companionship and protection, and for mental pain and suffering
- Minor children, and all children, if there is no surviving spouse, may recover for lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance, and for mental pain and suffering
- Each parent of a deceased minor may recover for mental pain and suffering, and a parent of an adult child may also recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors
- Medical, funeral and burial expenses
Determining which family members qualify as survivors who may bring a claim in a wrongful death case, in addition to determining the value of damages such as past and future lost support and services, as well as economic losses, can be very complex. In a wrongful death case, an experienced personal injury attorney will review all of the facts and evidence and can advise you as to whether or not you will be able to obtain compensation on behalf of you, your family members, and/or your family’s estate.
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