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A survivor’s tale: Understanding the Florida Wrongful Death Act

by | Jul 7, 2023 | Personal Injury

Surviving is not merely about staying alive but living to fight another day driven by a higher purpose. For survivors of a loved one who died due to another person’s misconduct, this may mean pursuing a wrongful death claim.

Under Florida law, pursuing a wrongful death claim falls under the “Florida Wrongful Death Act.” Learning who is eligible to file a lawsuit to determine which damages are available for whose recovery may eventually bring you peace and enough financial fuel to move forward.

Filing and recovery

Per the statute, wrongful death in Florida occurs as a result of someone else’s wrongful act, negligence, or breach of warranty or contract. There is an extensive list of possible incidents, ranging from slip-and-fall or vehicular accidents, medical malpractice and defective products to other intentional criminal acts.

Here are elements you can look out for in establishing eligible parties and recovering damages:

  • Survivors: You are one if you’re either the decedent’s spouse, child, parent, blood relative, adoptive sibling and any other dependent party during the decedent’s lifetime.
  • Personal representative: If the decedent left a will designating a personal representative for their estate, this person can file the claim on behalf of the estate and surviving family members. In the absence of a will, the court will assign an appropriate personal representative instead.
  • Damages to survivors: These may be any of the following:
    • The value of lost support and services
    • Surviving spouse’s loss of companionship and protection, and mental pain or suffering
    • Loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance, and mental pain or suffering of surviving minor children, who are under 25, and any other child of the decedent
    • If the decedent is a minor or adult child, any parent’s mental pain or suffering
    • Medical and funeral expenses paid by survivors
  • Damages to the estate: These may be any of the following:
    • Decedent’s loss of income from the date of the incident up to the death
    • Loss of prospective net accumulations
    • Medical and funeral expenses charged to the estate

The verdict separately awards survivors and the estate. The state only allows two years from the tragedy to file the claim.

Fighting the good fight

Grief for your loved one’s untimely passing is a powerful emotion. The thought that no monetary amount can restore their life is devastating. But you may find solace in knowing that financial compensation can help you hold the responsible party liable. Your legal representative can fight with and for you to protect your rights and, eventually, heal.