Death of a Loved One (Wrongful Death)

WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY IN MIAMI, FLORIDA

Having your loved one wrongfully and unexpectedly killed because of a person's or company's recklessness is by far one of the worst experiences you'll ever endure. Often you don't even get to say goodbye to your loved one before they are taken from you.

In a wrongful death lawsuit against the one responsible for taking your loved one, there are never any "winners." Even with a large financial settlement or jury verdict, no amount of money will ever compensate for your loss and pain caused by having your family member taken before their time.  

More than any other type of lawsuit, wrongful death lawsuits are about holding the wrongdoer accountable and ensuring it never happens again to someone else. Unfortunately, Florida restricts the categories of family members that can claim damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. It's a bad law that needs to be updated, but many family members discover this the hard way. 

To make matters worse, the way Florida's Wrongful Death Act (Fla. Stat. 786.16-768.26) statute is somewhat confusing when as to which family members have the right to claim damages. I've prepared this chart to provide the information clearly. 

Spouse Dies – Surviving Spouse but no Surviving Children
Spouse's Damages:
  • Loss of Decendent's Companionship and Protection
  • Mental Pain and Suffering from date of injury
  • Loss of Support and Services from date of injury to date of death (w/ interest)
  • Future Loss of Support and Services from date of death (at present value)
  • Medical and Funeral Expenses due to decedent's injury/death if paid by survivor
Spouse Dies with Surviving Children and Surviving Spouse
Spouse's Damages:
  • Loss of Decendent's Companionship and Protection
  • Mental Pain and Suffering from date of injury
  • Loss of Support and Services from date of injury to date of death (w/ interest)
  • Future Loss of Support and Services from date of death (at present value)
  • Medical and Funeral Expenses due to decedent's injury/death if paid by survivor
Children's Damages:
  • Loss of Support and Services from date of injury to date of death (w/ interest)
  • Future Loss of Support and Services from date of death (at present value)
  • Minor children only (under the age of 25 – Section 768.18(2)Florida Statutes), or all children if there is no surviving spouse, may also recover loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidanceandmental pain and suffering from date of the injury
Parent Dies with Surving Children but no Surviving Spouse
Surviving Children:
  • Loss of Support and Services from date of injury to date of death (w/interest)
  • Future Loss of Support and Services from date of death (at present value)
  • Allchildren may recover loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidanceandmental pain and suffering from date of the injury
Child Dies with Surviving Parents but no Surviving Spouse or Children
Parents' Damages for loss of minor child:
  • Mental pain and suffering from date of injury
  • Medical and funeral expenses due to decedent's injury/death if paid by survivor
Parents' Damages for loss of adult child:
  • Mental pain and suffering from date of of injury (so long as there are no other survivors)
  • Loss of Support and Services from date of injury to date of death (w/ interest)
  • Future Loss of Support and Services from date of death (at present value)
  • Medical and funeral expenses due to decedent's injury/death if paid by survivor
Personal Representative's Damages for all cases
  • Loss of earnings of the decedent from the date of injury to the date of death, less lost support of the survivors excluding contributions in kind, with interest
  • Loss of 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 if (a) the decedent's survivors include a surviving spouse or children; or (b) if decedent is not a minor child (under age 25), there are no lost support and services recoverable, and there is a surviving parent
  • Medical or funeral expenses due to decedent's injury or death that have become a charge against decedent's estate or that were paid by or on behalf of decedent, excluding amounts recoverable by a survivor who has paid those expenses
Important Exceptions to the above elements:
  • Adult childrencannotrecover lost parental companionship in medical malpractice claims
  • Parents of a deceased adult childcannotrecover mental pain and suffering in medical malpractice claims

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When you're injured by someone else, you always should consult with a lawyer. My consultations and case evaluations are always free and you lose nothing by contacting me. The worst mistake you can make is choosing the wrong lawyer or trying to deal with the insurance company on your own.

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As a trial lawyer, I co-counsel cases that need to be litigated and pushed to trial in order to obtain the best result possible. Insurance companies often wont settle a case for the maximum amount unless they're forced to risk losing at trial.