It is devastating to lose a loved one in an accident caused by someone else, but you might get a sense of relief knowing that you have rights as a surviving family member. Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act, you could be eligible to seek compensation from the responsible person or entity. These claims are similar to other personal injury matters that involve negligence, since you must prove that careless actions were a direct result of the accident. However, wrongful death actions are unique in many ways, especially when it comes to the types of monetary damages you can recover.
While you should always trust a Miami wrongful death lawyer for assistance with any critical legal matters, you can read on to gain a better understanding of compensation in these claims.
Damages for Surviving Family Members
The wrongful death statute allows the personal representative of a decedent’s estate to seek compensation on behalf of the victim’s surviving spouse, children, and parents; other relatives of the deceased may qualify if they depended upon him or her for support. To clarify, a wrongful death claim is for the benefit of the surviving family members, not the person who was killed. If you qualify according to your relationship with the decedent, and you prove the essential elements of your claim, you may recover for:
- Lost support and services resulting from the victim’s death, which may include income the deceased would have earned and the cost for replacement services;
- The surviving spouse’s losses related to companionship, guidance, and consortium;
- The losses children endure, such as instruction, education, and protection;
- Pain and suffering; and,
- Many others.
Compensation for the Estate of the Decedent
Florida’s wrongful death law also addresses the losses suffered by the victim, though these rights transfer over to the decedent’s estate upon death. The personal representative may bring a claim known as a “survival” action, because the right to seek compensation survives the individual. It is possible to recover damages on behalf of the estate for:
- Loss of the deceased’s income from the date of injury to the date of death;
- Lost earning capacity of and,
- Pain and suffering, but only the victim’s death was not instantaneous.
The personal representative of the decedent’s estate can also obtain compensation for the medical expenses for the last illness and funeral costs. The details depend upon how these costs were paid, whether by a surviving family member or the estate. If a wrongful death case goes to trial, Florida law requires the verdict to state the compensation for the estate and surviving family members separately.
A Miami Wrongful Death Lawyer Will Get the Compensation You Deserve
At Gerson & Schwartz, PA, our attorneys are well-versed in the laws that pertain to wrongful death claims and we are prepared to fight for your rights after a loved one dies under tragic circumstances. For more information, please contact our offices in Miami, Fort Lauderdale, or West Palm Beach, FL. We can schedule a no-cost consultation to review your case and get started on a legal strategy.