Florida Wrongful Death Claim – My Mom Was Killed in a Miami Car Accident: What Damages Are Recoverable in Florida for a Wrongful Death?

Unfortunately, everyday on the roadways throughout South Florida, whether in Miami-Dade County, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach or Monroe County (to wit, the Florida Keys, including Key Largo, Marathon, Islamorada or Tavernier), family members, friends and co-workers are hurt in accidents due to the fault of another, and sometimes, they are even killed.  These accidents typically involve cars, although they can also involve trucks, motorcycles, scooters, mopeds, and even bicycles.  Not knowing what to do, a surviving relative (ie., a “survivor”) may seek out the assistance of a Miami, Florida, personal injury and accident lawyer, wondering what types of damages may be recoverable when a “wrongful death” occurs.  Well, Florida Statute §768.21 (part of Florida’s Wrongful Death Act) lends some guidance to this question.  According to this statute, the following damages are recoverable for a Florida wrongful death claim or lawsuit:

Survivor:

  1. Each survivor (the loved one’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the loved one for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters) may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of your loved one’s injury to her or his death, and future loss of support and services from the date of death.
  2. The surviving spouse may recover for loss of the loved one’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
  3. Minor children (considered under the age of 25) of the loved one, and all children of the loved one if there is no surviving spouse, may recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
  4. Each parent of a deceased minor child may recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury, and  each parent of an adult child may recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors.
  5. Medical or funeral expenses due to the loved one’s injury or death may be recovered by a survivor who has paid them.

Estate:

  1. Medical or funeral expenses due to the loved one’s injury or death (excluding amounts paid by a survivor).
  2. Loss of earnings of the loved one from the date of injury to the date of death.
  3. Loss of the prospective net accumulations of an estate (ie, the loved one’s future earnings), which might reasonably have been expected but for the wrongful death may also be recovered if (1) the loved one’s survivors include a surviving spouse or lineal descendants (ie, children);  or (2) the loved one is not a minor child (ie, 25 and older), there are no lost support and services recoverable by a survivor, and there is a surviving parent.

On a side note, according to Florida Statute section 95.11(4)(d), the statute of limitations (time to bring a lawsuit) for a Florida wrongful death claim arising out of an automobile (whether a driver, passenger, or pedestrian), trucking, scooter, moped, bike, construction, cruise, slip and fall, trip and fall or on the job accident, is two years from the date of incident.

As you can see, these types of cases can be very complex and may require the need for a Florida Keys personal injury and wrongful death lawyer.