Injuries caused by someone’s actionable conduct or neglect often result in the injured person’s death. When this occurs, certain of the decedent’s family members may be entitled to financial damages through a wrongful-death action against the responsible parties. Though wrongful death laws across the nation share some similarities, each may have differences that affect the outcome of a particular case.
The Killino Firm’s Florida wrongful death lawyers have extensive experience with a great many types of wrongful death cases, including those arising out of deaths caused by medical malpractice, other negligence, dangerous premises, and defective products. If one of your family members has received fatal injuries as a result of someone’s negligence or a defective product, The Killino Firm can help you obtain the compensation to which you and your family are entitled.
Florida Wrongful Death Law
The Florida Wrongful Death Act, Fla. Stat. Ann. §§ 768.16 through 768.26, allows for the recovery of damages suffered by certain survivors of a person whose death was caused by a defendant’s wrongful act, negligence, default, breach of contract, or warranty. A Florida wrongful death action is brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate on behalf of the decedent’s survivors and the decedent’s estate to recover all damages caused by the injury that resulted in the decedent’s death.
Which of a Decedent’s Survivors May Receive Damages in a Florida Wrongful Death Action?
The survivors on behalf of whom a decedent’s personal representative may file a Florida wrongful death action are limited to the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. A survivor also includes a child born out of wedlock of a mother, but not of a father, unless the father has recognized his responsibility for the child’s support.
Wrongful death actions compensate a deceased person’s survivors for the damages the survivors have suffered as a result of the decedent’s death. A decedent’s estate may also recover wrongful death damages for certain losses incurred by the estate as a result of the decedent’s injury and death, including the decedent’s net loss of earnings between injury and death and medical and other expenses related to the injury or death that were charged to the estate.
Each survivor of a decedent may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury. A survivor who paid funeral or medical expenses resulting from the decedent’s injury or death may receive damages to cover those expenses. A surviving spouse may also recover for the loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and for the pain and suffering endured from the date of the decedent’s injury.
Minor children of a decedent may recover wrongful death damages in Florida for the loss of the parent’s companionship, instruction, and guidance, and for the pain and suffering endured from the date of the parent’s injury. (Regardless of the age of majority at the time of a decedent’s death, the children of a decedent are considered minors under this law until they have reached the age of 25.) If there is no surviving spouse, the adult children of a decedent may recover these damages, as well, as long as the death was not caused by medical negligence.
Parents of minor and adult children may also recover damages suffered as a result of the adult or minor child’s death. If a deceased adult child provided support and services to a surviving parent prior to the adult child’s death, for example, the surviving parent may receive damages to cover the loss of such support and services. Each parent of a deceased minor child may also recover damages for the parent’s mental pain and suffering endured from the time the child was injured. The parents of a deceased adult child may recover for such pain and suffering only if the adult child had no other survivors and the death was caused by something other than medical negligence.
Wrongful death damages may also be awarded to a decedent’s estate. Such damages may include the decedent’s net loss of earnings from the date of injury to the date of death and medical or funeral expenses due to the decedent’s injury or death that were charged against the decedent’s estate or that were paid by or on behalf of the decedent.
If a person dies from something other than the injuries that gave rise to a personal-injury action brought by the person before his or her death, the personal-injury action does not abate and becomes a survival action, under Fla. Stat. Ann. § 46.021, to recover damages for the suffering caused to the decedent from the time of the decedent’s injury until the decedent’s death.
Obtain Expert Assistance from The Killino Firm, P.C.
The Killino Firm’s Florida wrongful death lawyer have received national recognition for their expertise in personal-injury cases, including those arising out of wrongful deaths caused by accidents, malpractice, negligence, or defective products. Contact The Killino Firm for aggressive, experienced, and compassionate assistance with your Florida wrongful-death case.