Under Florida law, when a person's negligence or wrongful conduct causes another person's death, the decedent's personal representative may pursue a wrongful death lawsuit for the benefit of the decedent's estate and certain surviving relatives. Each of the decedent's survivors can recover damages for loss of the decedent's support and services from the date of the injury to the date of death, and future support -- reduced to present value -- from the date of death forward.
In addition to loss of support and services, survivors in specified relationships to the decedent can recover additional damages. If the decedent was married, his or her surviving spouse can also recover damages for mental pain and suffering, and loss of companionship and protection. Minor children of the decedent can recover damages for mental pain and suffering and the loss of their parent's companionship, guidance and instruction.
If the decedent was a minor child, or an adult child who left no survivors other than parents, the parents can also recover for mental pain and suffering, in addition to loss of support and services. Medical or funeral expenses can be recovered by survivors who paid them.
The personal representative can recover, for the benefit of the decedent's estate, any lost accumulation in value of the estate, as well as that portion of lost earnings not awarded to survivors as loss of support.
When a loved one is lost in a fatal car crash, a fatal workplace accident or as a result of medical malpractice, a wrongful death lawsuit may be an option to consider. If the death was due to the wrongdoing or negligence of another person, grieving relatives may want to learn more about their legal rights.
Source: Florida Legislature, Fla. Stat. § 768.16-768.26 (2016), accessed Jan. 1, 2016