You Local Florida Wrongful Death Attorney
In Florida, those who cause the death of another person through a wrongful act, negligence, breach of contract, breach of warranty, or default can be held liable for the victim’s wrongful death. However, only certain individuals have standing to file wrongful death claims, so if you recently lost a loved one in an accident that was not his or her fault, it is critical to speak with an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney who can ensure that you have standing to file suit on your loved one’s behalf before you proceed with your claim.
What is a Wrongful Death?
Under Florida law, a wrongful death is any death caused by someone else’s:
- Wrongful act;
- Breach of contract or warranty; or
As long as the person who passed away would have had standing to file a claim against the at-fault party if he or she had survived, that person’s heirs can file a wrongful death lawsuit on their loved one’s behalf.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Only a decedent’s personal representative is permitted to file a wrongful death claim on the deceased’s behalf. These actions, however, are undertaken for the benefit of a decedent’s survivors, which includes:
- A decedent’s spouse, children, and parents; and
- Any blood relatives or adoptive brothers and sisters who are partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support and services.
In order to be eligible for damages, all potential beneficiaries must be identified in the wrongful death complaint and their relationship to the dependent clarified.
What Types of Damages are Available
to Successful Plaintiffs?
Noakes can handle your unique case.
Plaintiffs who are able to successfully prove that a defendant caused or contributed to a loved one’s death could be entitled to a damages award that includes compensation for:
- The value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to that individual’s death, with interest; and
- The value of future lost support and services calculated from the date of the decedent’s death.
Courts take a number of factors into account when calculating how much a plaintiff can recover in damages for the loss of support and services, including:
- The survivor’s relationship to the deceased;
- The amount of the decedent’s probable net income, or his or her net business or salary income, including any pension benefits that would have been retained as savings and included in the decedent’s estate if he or she had survived; and
- The replacement value of the deceased’s services to the plaintiff.
When computing future losses, courts are also permitted to take the joint life expectancies of the plaintiff and the decedent into account, as well as the period of minority for surviving children. The damages for which a person could qualify also depends on the nature of the plaintiff’s relationship to the decedent. For example, surviving spouses are permitted to recover compensation for:
- The loss of their partner’s companionship and protection; and
- Mental pain and suffering calculated from the date of the deceased’s injury.
Minor children, on the other hand, or all children if the decedent had no surviving spouse, can recover compensation for:
- Loss of parental companionship;
- Loss of instruction and guidance; and
- Mental pain and suffering.
The parents of a deceased minor child can also collect compensation for the mental pain and suffering that they endured as a result of their child’s death. In fact, parents of children can also recover for mental pain and suffering, but only if the decedent had no other survivors. Finally, any survivor who paid for the decedent’s medical or funeral expenses can collect reimbursement for those costs.
A decedent’s personal representative is also permitted to recover damages specifically for the decedent’s estate, including:
- Any of the deceased’s lost earnings calculated from the date of injury to the date of death, minus the lost support of survivors; and
- Medical or funeral expenses incurred as a result of the decedent’s injury or death that were charged against the estate or were paid on behalf of a decedent.
For help determining which, if any, of these damages you could be entitled to after successfully filing a wrongful death suit after a loved one’s untimely death, please contact our office today.
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To speak with a dedicated Florida wrongful death attorney about your own legal options following a loved one’s passing, please call the Noakes Law Group at 561-301-6999 today. Initial consultations are offered free of charge, so please don’t hesitate to call or contact us online at your earliest convenience.
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