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Wrongful Death Laws in Florida

Personal Injury Attorneys Assisting Families in Boca Raton and Surrounding Cities

Although any type of accident is stressful for the victim and their family, accidents that result in someone’s death are the most devastating. Bereaved family members should seek the assistance of an injury lawyer who can protect their rights. At The Grife Law Firm, our experienced Boca Raton wrongful death lawyers have assisted many families throughout South Florida with pursuing justice after the needless loss of their loved one. A variety of damages may be available under Florida laws, some of which may be sought by the victim’s estate and others by the victim’s survivors. If you are bringing a medical malpractice claim, however, there are certain distinctive rules in this area of which you may want to be aware.

Wrongful Death Damages for a Victim’s Estate

Florida’s rules regarding wrongful death damages are outlined in Florida Statutes Annotated section 768.21. The statute distinguishes between the types of damages for which the estate and the survivors may be eligible. First, the estate may be able to receive damages for medical bills related to the victim’s treatment between the accident and their death, as well as any funeral or burial expenses. In addition, the estate may receive damages for lost earnings or lost prospective net accumulations. These may be complex to calculate but are generally defined as the net income that the victim would have been able to save and distribute in their estate if they had not died because of the accident. However, items such as tax payments, personal expenses, and expenses made to support family members are subtracted.

Wrongful Death Damages for a Victim’s Survivors

Section 768.21 also provides for damages awarded to the victim’s spouse, children, and parents, in addition to certain other relatives who depended on the victim. They typically will be able to get compensation for any contributions to the victim’s medical or funeral expenses, in addition to the loss of their loved one’s support and services. Other types of damages that they may seek depend to some extent on their specific relationship to their loved one. For example, a spouse may be able to recover damages for their loss of the victim’s companionship. Meanwhile, children under the age of 25 may pursue compensation for their loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance. Both the spouse and the children may seek compensation for the mental pain and suffering that they personally suffered because of the fatal accident.

In the event that there is no surviving spouse, any children of the victim (whether or not they are under 25) may be able to get these types of damages. This is also the case when both spouses die because of the same accident within 30 days of each other. Illegitimate children have the right to pursue wrongful death damages based on the death of their mother, but they may pursue damages based on the death of their father only if he had a legal obligation to provide support.

Tragic accidents in which a child dies may lead to a claim by the surviving parents for the mental pain and suffering that they endured. These cases are complex, however, and the parents’ rights will depend on the age of the child and whether the child had other survivors.

Distinctive Limitations in Florida Medical Malpractice Claims

Under the Wrongful Death Act, only certain individuals may bring these claims when a loved one dies because of medical malpractice. These are a spouse, a child under the age of 25 who lost a parent, an adult child who depended on the victim for financial support, and a parent who lost a child under the age of 25. If a victim has no relative in any of these categories, a claim may not be filed. This is a much stricter set of requirements than for other wrongful death actions. Our attorneys feel great compassion for relatives who are unable to seek the justice that they deserve because of the tort reforms made to benefit the health care industry.

Retain a Compassionate Wrongful Death Lawyer in Boca Raton

Losing a loved one unexpectedly and due to another person’s carelessness or wrongdoing is one of the most tragic experiences that someone can endure. Although no amount of compensation will ever truly make you whole after such a loss, it may help you overcome the financial burdens that result after the loss of a relative. At The Grife Law Firm, our Boca Raton wrongful death attorneys have provided skilled legal counsel to grieving families throughout the region, including in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Fort Lauderdale. We understand how important this matter is to your family and you, and we can ensure that you receive the personalized, compassionate, and zealous legal counsel that you deserve. To set up a free consultation with a car accident lawyer or seek assistance with another type of personal injury case, call us now at 1-855-998-0770 or contact us online.