What Is Considered A Wrongful Death Action In Florida?
A wrongful death action in Florida is a civil action whereby the plaintiff (who is the estate of the person who died) alleges that someone is responsible for that person’s death, and they seek money damages for the survivors (i.e. the children, the spouse, and/or the estate). The wrongful death action is codified by statute in Florida and it outlines what damages can be recovered and who can be claimants. At our office, we work with estate attorneys to help set up estates in wrongful death actions and appoint personal representatives who will act as the lead on wrongful death cases.
Who Are The Parties That Have The Authority To File A Wrongful Death Action In Florida?
The personal representative of the estate of the deceased individual has authority to file a wrongful death suit. The personal representative can be anyone, but it is usually a close family member, such as a spouse, parent, or sibling of the decedent. The people who have a stake in the case include the spouse, children, and in some circumstances, the parents of the children or blood relatives and adoptive siblings who were dependent upon the decedent.
What Damages Are Survivors Entitled To In A Wrongful Death Claim?
Survivors are entitled to money damages for loss of support and services, which is probable future income of the deceased and the replacement value of lost support and services. A surviving spouse is entitled to lost compensation protection. Under certain circumstances, pain and suffering damages might also be awarded.
If a spouse dies and does not have children, then the surviving spouse’s damages would include loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection, mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury, loss of support and services from the date of injury to the date of death with interest loss, future loss of support and services, and medical and funeral expenses. If a spouse dies with surviving minor children, the children can also receive damages for past and future loss of support and services. With a few exceptions, adult children cannot recover for lost parental companionship or pain and suffering.
The estate is also entitled to loss of the prospective net accumulation of the estate. For example, if the decedent had a high-income potential, then that could increase the amount of damages allowable to the estate. As morbid as it sounds, a doctor’s estate is going to be worth more than a laborer’s estate.