Florida Wrongful Death Damages
Accidental deaths often occur when you least expect them. Someone could be driving peacefully along the road, when a truck comes barreling out of nowhere and slams into the side of their car, killing them instantly. It's even more disturbing when it happens to your friends and family - your child walking across a busy highway and getting run over by a car, a father cutting trees and getting electrocuted, a doctor administering the wrong medication in the hospital, a neglected family member in a nursing home, or a child accidentally getting shot by a friend.
The point is not to scare you, but to remind you that complacency is not the best attitude to adopt in life, particularly in a place like Florida, which has made it into the list of the United States of America's Most Dangerous States List quite often. Wrongful deaths are a product of road accidents, street crimes (mugging, etc.), negligence, and so on. It's a horrible scenario to face when these occur, particularly your loved ones, and it's not a situation you'd particularly like to handle.
However, in addition to dealing with the loss of a loved one after a wrongful death, other companies and people who may have a claim on the property and personal belongings of the dead or as survivors of the decedent may try to take advantage of the accidental death for their own ends. It is more important than ever to remain extra vigilant under these circumstances and consult with a wrongful death attorney in Florida as soon as possible.
Wrongful Death in Florida may invoke several laws
There are several laws which may apply after a wrongful death in Florida. This could include the Wrongful Death Act, Florida's Probate Law, Florida's Probate Rules of Procedure, Florida's Rules of Civil Procedure, and several statutes.
The legislative part in the Florida Wrongful Death Act states that it is the 'public policy of the state to shift the losses resulting when wrongful death occurs from the survivors of the decedent to the wrongdoer.' The word survivors generally pertains to the family of the deceased - any relation such as the parents, spouse or child, a child born out of wedlock to the mother, blood relatives or adopted relations dependent on the deceased. The Wrongful Death Act specifies who can make a claim, what damages they can claim, and how a claim can be made.
There are a lot of claims that can be made; a loss of certain aspects of life is compensated for by the Wrongful Death Act. These may include mental pain and grief (for which a mental health counselor may be needed), loss of any support or services that the deceased used to perform for the survivors (can range from the simple housing activities to more sophisticated ones, such as providing for education. The jury may also take into consideration the life expectancy of the deceased - to see who long the support would have lasted - before providing compensation. It is also dependent on how important the services are for the survivors), and so on.
Medical and funerary expenses provided for by a survivor can also be compensated for. With regard to the deceased's estate, the damages awarded are subject to the creditors/debtors' claims. However, the same rule does not generally apply to the damages awarded to the survivors with regard to the aforementioned subject.
Net accumulations are taken into account. Here, the deceased's personal expenses are deducted, their personal earnings counted, and any amount of money they saved is also taken into account. After bringing the amount down to the current sum payable to the survivors, the net accumulations may be awarded. In simpler terms, it is generally what the decedent would have saved over the course of his lifetime after subtracting what he would have spent.
There are other damages that you may be entitled to as a survivor of either the estate or under the Wrongful Death Act. We work with Probate attorneys who can handle creditor claims, and any money awarded to the estate. If children under 18 are survivors, there may be other processing rules, which may include Court approval and setting up an account to provide for the children when they reach 18.
If you are the survivor or possible beneficiary of an estate, call us for a free consultation at 800-337-7755.