Florida law defines a wrongful death as the death of a person caused by a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract. If your loved one has suffered a wrongful death, a Tampa personal injury attorney can help you take legal action against the at-fault party in order to recover compensation for your family’s losses.
But how much compensation can you recover for your loved one’s wrongful death? How much time will you have to take legal action after your loved one’s death? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions and more.
Which Surviving Family Members Can Recover Compensation For A Wrongful Death?
The law only allows certain family members to recover compensation after a wrongful death. In Florida, the surviving family members that can recover compensation for their loved one’s wrongful death include:
- The decedent’s spouse
- The decedent’s children
- The decedent’s parents
- Blood relatives or adoptive siblings that were partially or completely financially dependent on the decedent at the time of their death
These are the only individuals that are allowed to recover compensation for their losses caused by a wrongful death.
How Are Surviving Family Members Compensated For A Wrongful Death in Florida?
The law is very specific regarding how surviving family members can be compensated for their loved one’s death.
Every surviving family member listed above is entitled to compensation for the loss of financial support and services suffered as a result of the decedent’s wrongful death. This may include the loss of income, benefits, childcare, and other household services, for example.
Many factors must be taken into consideration when calculating the value of the total loss of financial support and services. Some of these factors include how much it will cost to replace the services, the decedent’s income, the decedent’s future earning potential, the decedent’s life expectancy, and the decedent’s age at the time of their death.
If there is a surviving spouse, they are entitled to compensation for the loss of companionship and protection. A surviving spouse is also entitled to compensation for mental pain and suffering caused by the decedent’s death.
If there are children under the age of 25, they may be awarded compensation for mental pain and suffering, loss of parental guidance, and loss of parental companionship. In the absence of a surviving spouse, the decedent’s children over the age of 25 may also be awarded compensation for these losses.
The parents of the wrongful death victim may also be awarded compensation for their tragic loss. The type of compensation they are awarded will depend on the decedent’s age at the time of their death. If the decedent was under the age of 25, the parents may be awarded compensation for their mental pain and suffering. But if not, the parents are only entitled to this compensation if the decedent did not leave behind a spouse or children.
If a family member covered the cost of the decedent’s medical care, funeral, or burial, they are entitled to compensation for these expenses.
What is the Value of A Wrongful Death Claim?
The value of a wrongful death claim will vary on a case-by-case basis. Some of the many factors that can affect the value of your claim include:
- Number of surviving family members
- Liability for the wrongful death
- The decedent’s income
- The decedent’s earning capacity
- The decedent’s age at the time of their death
- Household services provided by the decedent
- Funeral services
- Value of lost benefits provided by the decedent
There are several reasons why determining the value of a wrongful death claim is not easy. First, the laws regarding compensation for surviving family members are complex, so it can be hard for grieving family members to understand their rights.
Second, family members must determine how much compensation they are entitled to for the loss of financial support and services. Figuring out the current and future value of these losses is challenging, especially when you factor in the decedent’s age and earning capacity. It’s also difficult to place a value on non-monetary losses such as mental pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and loss of parental guidance.
These are some of the many reasons why you shouldn’t try to calculate the value of your wrongful death claim on your own. Instead, turn to an experienced attorney who can help you understand the value of your case so you don’t end up settling for less than what your family deserves.
What is the Statute of Limitations For Wrongful Death Cases in Florida?
Each state has established its own statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits. This law limits the amount of time that surviving family members have to take legal action after losing a loved one in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence.
In Florida, the statute of limitations is two years. In other words, surviving family members have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party. If you attempt to file a lawsuit after this deadline has passed, the court will most likely immediately dismiss the case. This means you could lose the right to recover compensation for your losses if you miss this important deadline.
Discuss Your Legal Options With Our Wrongful Death Attorneys
Have you lost a loved one in a tragic, unexpected accident? If so, speak to the skilled wrongful death attorneys at Carlson Meissner Hart & Hayslett as soon as possible. Let our team of compassionate attorneys review the details of your case, explain your legal options, and help you fight for the compensation your family deserves.
Since 1971, our team has been committed to helping grieving families in Tampa Bay seek justice and secure compensation. Let us help you reach the best possible outcome in your case. Contact our law office now to schedule a free consultation with our team.