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Damages In a St. Petersburg Negligent Death Case

St.Petersburg  Wrongful Death Damages

Florida Statutes section 678.18[1] states that when a person’s death “is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of another person or some other entity, the estate of the deceased person may bring a civil lawsuit in Florida’s courts, seeking a legal remedy for that death and the losses stemming from that death.  Wrongful death claims may arise from any accident or intentional act including fatal car crashes, death by hospital malpractice, dangerous premises, defective products, and aircraft accidents.

Florida Damages in Wrongful Death Case

In a wrongful death claim, liability is expressed solely in terms of money damages.

  • Florida Statutes section 768.21[2] sets out the state’s rules for awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages that surviving family members may receive in these kinds of cases include:
    Support:
    The value of support and services the deceased person had provided to the surviving family member such as the decedent’s lost
  • Companionship: The loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person.
  • Emotional Pain: Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child, and medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.
  • Funeral and Medical: A survivor can recover both the medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the survivor.

The deceased person’s estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include:

  • Wages: Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived.
  • Estate Value: The lost “prospective net accumulations” of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived.
  • Funeral and Medical: The estate can recover both the medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly

Florida Support and Services Damages

Support and services are two categories of Florida wrongful death damages that are available to survivors.  “Support” is defined by statute to include contributions in kind as well as money.  So this means a survivor may recover lost contributions of both property and money.  “Services” are things like daily tasks, usually around the house, which the decedent used to perform, but which now will be an expense for the survivors.  Florida law allows the survivors to be compensated for any loss of support and services they might have received from the decedent had he or she not passed away.

Each survivor may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value. In computing the duration of future losses, the joint life expectancies of the survivor and the decedent and the period of minority, in the case of healthy minor children, may also be considered.

St. Petersburg Punitive Damages and Pain and Suffering Damages

Florida Punitive Damages

In the state of Florida, punitive damages are recoverable in wrongful death cases. Punitive damages may be awarded if the individual responsible for the loved one’s death is personally guilty of intentional misconduct or gross negligence. Intentional misconduct means the individual had actual knowledge of the wrongfulness of the conduct and the high probability that injury or damage to the claimant would result and, despite that knowledge, intentionally pursued that course of conduct, resulting in injury or damage.

Florida Pain and Suffering Damages

Florida’s Wrongful Death Act also provides that five categories of survivors may recover for their mental pain and suffering caused by the decedent’s death: (1) the surviving spouse, (2) minor children, (3) adult children when there is no surviving spouse of the decedent, (4) each parent of a deceased minor child, (5) and the parents of an adult child when there are no other survivors.

St. Petersburg Wrongful Death Attorneys

If a loved one was killed as a result of the actions of another person or business entity, it is important to speak to a St. Petersburg wrongful death attorney to discuss the complex legal issues that apply to these types of cases.  The attorneys at the Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA are skilled wrongful death attorneys and they are ready to review and evaluate your case.  Contact Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA today at (727) 222-6922 to schedule your free legal case evaluation and consultation.

Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
1663 1st Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712
(727) 222-6922

St. Petersburg Personal Injury Attorneys

References:

[1] http://www.leg.state.fl.us/Statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0768/0768.html
[2] http://www.leg.state.fl.us/statutes/index.cfm?App_mode=Display_Statute&URL=0700-0799/0768/Sections/0768.21.html