When a loved one dies as the result of negligence, it is devastating. Surviving family members have sustained a heartbreaking loss. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can’t bring back a loved one. However, it can help provide some measure of financial security in a difficult time.
Florida Statutes section 768.21 sets out the types of damages that can be recovered after a wrongful death. Under this statute, surviving family members of a decedent may be able to recover:
Medical Bills and Funeral Expenses
Compensation for items such as funeral costs and any medical bills related to the decedent’s final injury or illness may be recovered if they were paid by the family members. Expenses that were paid directly by the estate are recoverable.
Loss of Support and Services
Family members may be able to recover the value of any support or household services provided by the decedent. For example, if the decedent was a stay at home parent who cared for the children while the other spouse worked, there may be recovery for the reasonable value of daycare expenses.
Loss of Companionship and Protection
The spouse and children of a decedent may be able to recover for the loss of emotional support, friendship, and the instruction and guidance that a child would receive from a parent.
Mental Pain and Suffering
Certain survivors can recover for the emotional pain and suffering they have sustained as a result of the loss of their loved one.
The estate of the deceased person can also recover damages, including:
Future lost earnings may also be recoverable. These lost earnings include what the decedent would have earned had they continued working up until typical retirement age. This also includes the value of any lost benefits such as health insurance the decedent would have received as part of their employment. Calculating future lost earnings depends on the decedent’s education, career, and age. Loss of future earnings is usually proven with the testimony of an economist or other experts on wages and salaries who will determine the decedent’s earning capacity.
Lost Accumulation of Value of the Estate
The estate can also recover the value of any investments or other income that would have accumulated if not for the wrongful death.
Contact an Experienced Attorney
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, you should have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience helping the injured. Contact us online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.