The loss of a loved one is never easy, but when that loss comes at the hands of another person, the blow is even more devastating. Whether it is in a car crash, medical malpractice, criminal act or any other breach of a duty of care owed to the victim, the victim's survivors in such situations may wish to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. One way to do this is through a wrongful death lawsuit.
In Florida, a wrongful death action is brought by a personal representative of the decedent's estate on behalf of the decedent's survivors. Under Florida Statutes §768.21, there are a variety of damages the decedent's survivors can pursue in a wrongful death claim.
Each of the decedent's survivors may pursue damages for lost support and services from the time of injury until the decedent dies, as well as damages for future loss of support and services. If the decedent has a surviving spouse, he or she may seek compensation for mental pain and suffering, as well as loss of companionship and protection. If the decedent had minor children or children but no surviving spouse, the children may be compensated for lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance. The children in such situations may also pursue compensation for mental pain and suffering. If the decedent was a minor child, that child's parents may seek damages for mental pain and suffering. The survivor that paid for medical or funeral costs may seek to be compensated for these expenses. Finally, the personal representative can recover for the decedent's estate compensation for loss of earnings.
This is only a brief overview of the damages that may be sought in a wrongful death suit. It cannot guarantee any specific outcome for any person's case and cannot replace the advice of an attorney. Still, it serves as a good example of the many damages that qualifying individuals may pursue through a wrongful death action. Of course, no amount of money can bring back a loved one lost. But, through a wrongful death lawsuit, the decedent's survivors can obtain the financial compensation they need during a difficult time as well as a sense that justice has been done.