Individuals that have lost a loved one because of someone else’s carelessness or negligence are often faced with sudden and unexpected expenses such as medical bills, funeral costs and loss of income. If you are in this situation, you may wonder if there is a way to recover such expenses. Fortunately, under Florida law, you have the right to seek compensation for such losses by filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
The right to file a wrongful death lawsuit can arise in a variety of situations. Such lawsuits can be filed in virtually any case where a loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s wrongful act, default, negligence, or breach of contract. Aside from fatal car accidents, wrongful death lawsuits are commonly filed in instances where death was caused by medical malpractice, nursing home abuse, dangerous property conditions or defective products.
Wrongful death under Florida law
Like most other states, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida is controlled by statute. Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act, the right to file a lawsuit is limited to the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Under the law, the personal representative sues on behalf of those who are eligible to collect damages. This may include the decedent’s parents, spouse and children.
Under the act, several types of damages may be collected such as:
- Loss of support
- The reasonable value of services provided by the decedent
- Loss of companionship and pain and suffering (limited to the spouse in most cases)
In addition to these damages, punitive damages may also be awarded if the conduct of the party responsible for the death was willful, intentional or exhibited a reckless disregard for human life.
Aside from compensating family members, wrongful death lawsuits also serve to compensate the decedent’s estate for losses. Under the law, the personal representative can collect damages on behalf of the estate such as:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of decedent’s earnings
- Loss of the estate’s potential asset accumulations
Although a wrongful death lawsuit cannot bring your loved one back to life, it can go a long way toward helping you move on with your life, by making you and certain family members financially whole. If someone else’s negligence has cause a loved one’s death, an attorney from Ford, Dean & Rotundo, P.A. can work to ensure that the responsible party is held accountable.