Written by: Allan L. Ziffra, Esq.
Florida’s wrongful death law provides for the recovery of damages to the family members of a deceased that sustained a wrongful death. The Volusia County personal injury attorneys at Rue & Ziffra, P.A., have found that grieving victims are occasionally unclear as to their entitlement to bring a claim for wrongful death in the aftermath of a tragic accident. Referred to generally in this context as “survivors,” there are a number of family members that may potentially recover under Florida law when a loved one is lost due to the negligence, carelessness or recklessness of another individual or entity.
As defined in Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, “survivors” means 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. Survivors also includes children born out of wedlock of a mother but does not include children born out of wedlock of the father unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support. Further, “minor children” for the purposes of being entitled to damages for the wrongful death of a loved one means children under twenty-five (25) years of age.
Specifically, the surviving spouse may recover for the future loss of support and services, the loss of protection and companionship, and for mental pain and suffering. Minor children are likewise entitled to receive the value of the loss of future support and services along with the value of lost parental companionship, instruction, guidance, and mental pain and suffering. If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse, the Florida Wrongful Death Act does not then limit the children of the decedent that may participate in the recovery to minors only.
Parents of a deceased minor child are entitled to recovery under Florida’s wrongful death laws. In particular, each parent of a deceased minor child is entitled to recover for the loss of support and services and mental pain and suffering. The same holds true for the parents of deceased adult children so long as there are no other survivors. Any survivor who has paid for the medical and funeral expenses of the deceased may recover these costs. Contact the wrongful death and personal injury attorneys at Rue & Ziffra today to thoroughly discuss your right to full and fair compensation for the wrongful loss of a loved one.
Finally, the decedent’s estate is lawfully permitted to participate in the wrongful death recovery as well. Specifically, the decedent’s personal representative may recover on behalf of the decedent’s estate loss of earnings, loss of the estate’s prospective net accumulations, and the medical and funeral expenses that were paid by or on the behalf of the decedent.
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