If you have lost a loved one in an accident caused by another person or entity’s negligence, then you may be eligible for compensation through a Florida wrongful death lawsuit. Recovering damages in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit can be a long and difficult process. To file a Florida wrongful death lawsuit, it is best to hire a Tampa wrongful death lawyer early on in the case.
Who May Claim Damages in a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Under Florida law, only the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may bring about a wrongful death lawsuit. The personal representative must seek recovery for each individual survivor, as well as for any claims of the deceased’s estate.
Survivors of the deceased that may claim damages in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit include the victim’s:
- blood relatives; and
- adoptive brothers and sisters (in some circumstances).
What Damages Can be Recovered in a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, you can recover compensatory damages as well as punitive damages.
Compensatory damages may include:
- medical costs (for medical care after the accident but prior to death);
- funeral and burial expenses;
- income the victim would have earned if they had lived;
- the loss of services, such as child care and housekeeping;
- the loss of companionship, instruction and guidance; and
- mental pain or anguish you have suffered.
Punitive damages may be awarded in some cases in addition to compensatory damages, which are meant to punish the offending party’s reckless or negligent acts.
Calculating the Loss of Support and Services
To calculate the loss of support and services in a wrongful death lawsuit, you may have an economist estimate the value of your loss. To make this calculation, an economist will consider the loss of the deceased’s net income, as well as the loss of the deceased’s household duties and other considerations specific to the victim’s life. This calculation will reflect what you would have continued to receive if the wrongful death had not occurred.
Calculating the Loss of Companionship, Instruction and Guidance
It is difficult to calculate these losses in a wrongful death lawsuit. This is because they are not necessarily quantifiable losses, such as with medical bills or lost income. To shed light on the losses to which survivors may be entitled, a grief counselor may be permitted to testify in court.
Calculating Mental Pain and Suffering
To calculate these losses, a grief counselor may be permitted to testify on your behalf. Survivors who may claim damages for mental pain and suffering include the surviving spouse, children and parents of the deceased. But because a jury will award what it believes is adequate compensation, these types of losses may vary greatly from case to case
Recovering Damages in a Florida Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In order to recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove that someone’s negligence was the cause of the death.
In Such a Claim, It Must be Proven That:
- the defendant owed a legal duty to the deceased;
- the defendant’s negligent act, or failure to act, violated the duty that they owed;
- as a result of the defendant’s actions, the victim was killed; and
- as a result of the death, the deceased’s estate and beneficiaries suffered losses.
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one due to the negligence of someone else, contact a Florida personal injury lawyer. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help you get the financial compensation that you deserve, allowing you to focus on recovery.