Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If your loved one has passed away due to the negligence of another, you may be able to recover damages or compensation under Florida law.
Florida’s “Wrongful Death Act” lists the persons who are able to sue a negligent party.
If you are any of the following persons in the list below, you may be able to file a lawsuit and recover money damages:
the decedent's spouse;
the decedent’s children born of a marriage;
a decedent mother’s children born out of wedlock;
a decedent father’s children born out of wedlock if the father, prior to his death, recognized a responsibility for the child's support;
the decedent’s parents;
any blood relatives partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services;
any adoptive brothers and sisters partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.
Section 768.21 explains the compensation you may be entitled to in such lawsuits:
(1) Each survivor may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent's injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value. In evaluating loss of support and services, the survivor's relationship to the decedent, the amount of the decedent's probable net income available for distribution to the particular survivor, and the replacement value of the decedent's services to the survivor may be considered. In computing the duration of future losses, the joint life expectancies of the survivor and the decedent and the period of minority, in the case of healthy minor children, may be considered.
(2) The surviving spouse may also recover for loss of the decedent's companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
(3) Minor children of the decedent, and all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. For the purposes of this subsection, if both spouses die within 30 days of one another as a result of the same wrongful act or series of acts arising out of the same incident, each spouse is considered to have been predeceased by the other.
(4) Each parent of a deceased minor child may also recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Each parent of an adult child may also recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors.
(5) Medical or funeral expenses due to the decedent's injury or death may be recovered by a survivor who has paid them.
(6) The decedent's personal representative may recover for the decedent's estate the following:
(a) Loss of earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the date of death, less lost support of survivors excluding contributions in kind, with interest. Loss of the prospective net accumulations of an estate, which might reasonably have been expected but for the wrongful death, reduced to present money value, may also be recovered:
1. If the decedent's survivors include a surviving spouse or lineal descendants; or
2. If the decedent is not a minor child as defined in s. 768.18(2), there are no lost support and services recoverable under subsection (1), and there is a surviving parent.
(b) Medical or funeral expenses due to the decedent's injury or death that have become a charge against her or his estate or that were paid by or on behalf of decedent, excluding amounts recoverable under subsection (5).
(c) Evidence of remarriage of the decedent's spouse is admissible.
(7) All awards for the decedent's estate are subject to the claims of creditors who have complied with the requirements of probate law concerning claims.
(8) The damages specified in subsection (3) shall not be recoverable by adult children and the damages specified in subsection (4) shall not be recoverable by parents of an adult child with respect to claims for medical negligence as defined by s. 766.106(1).
Wrongful death claims in Florida can arise out of the negligence of another, including:
Fatal car accident
Murder in an apartment complex or commercial property
Nursing home negligence
Assisted living facility or group home negligence
Slip and fall with head injury
For more information on wrongful death litigation, please contact our Law Offices at (954) 515-5000 for a FREE consultation.