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Wrongful Death Under Florida Law

In this article, you will learn…

  • The most common causes of wrongful death,
  • The main elements of wrongful death cases, and
  • How damages are determined in wrongful death.

What Is A Wrongful Death Action Under Florida Law?

Under Florida Law, wrongful death is defined as a person dying as a result of someone else’s negligence, wrongful act, or violation of a contract or warranty. A person may bring a civil suit for wrongful death and recover monetary damages in Florida.

What Are The Most Common Causes Of A Wrongful Death?

In the United States, the leading causes of wrongful death are…

  • Auto accidents,
  • Trucking accidents,
  • Bicycle accidents,
  • Medical malpractice,
  • Defective products,
  • Work-related and construction accidents, and
  • Criminal acts.

What Are The Main Elements Of Wrongful Death Cases?

The main elements of a wrongful death case are…

  • Duty or breach of duty,
  • Causation,
  • Damages, and
  • Proof of carelessness, recklessness, and/or negligence.

In wrongful death cases, you have to prove that the death of a person was caused either in part or wholly by carelessness, recklessness, or negligent action of the defendant.

You must also prove that the defendant owed a duty, that they breached that duty, and that the breach of duty was an actual cause and fact of the damages suffered which resulted in death.

How Are The Damages Determined In A Wrongful Death Case?

In a wrongful death case, the damages are determined by a jury of your peers. Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, the beneficiaries of a recovery for wrongful death include the decedent’s estate. The damages could include, for the survivors, the loss of support and services for the date of the decedent’s injury to their death, with interest and future loss of support and services from the date of death, which is reduced to present value.

In the loss of support and services, they evaluate….

  • The survivor’s relationship to the decedent,
  • The amount of the decedent’s net income available to distribution to a particular survivor, and
  • The replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor.

In determining future losses, the joint life expectancies of the survivor and the decedent can be considered. This is also true for any children of the decedent.

The surviving spouse may also recover from the decedent’s…

  • Companionship,
  • Protection, and
  • Lost earnings,
  • Funeral costs, and
  • Mental pain and suffering.

Minor children of the decedent, for the purpose of the statute, are those children who are aged 25 and under. All children of the decedent, if there is no surviving spouse, can also recover from…

  • Loss of parental companionship,
  • Loss of instruction and guidance, and
  • Mental pain and suffering.

If the decedent is a child, the parents may recover from…

  • Mental pain and suffering,
  • Medical bills,
  • Funeral costs, and
  • Lost earnings.

A personal representative of the decedent’s estate can also recover lost earnings from the date of injury to the date of death minus lost support of survivors. They can also incur the loss of prospective net accumulations of the estate, which might have been reasonably expected but for the wrongful death.

How Long Do You Have To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Florida?

In Florida, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is within two years of the date of death.

With the guidance of a skilled attorney for Wrongful Death Cases, you can have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that we’ll make it look easy.

For more information on Wrongful Death Law in Florida, a free initial consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (904) 351-0945 today.

Stephen A. Smith, Esq.

Call For a Free Consultation
(904) 351-0945 | Available 24/7

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