If you lost a loved one in a motor vehicle accident caused by a negligent driver or defective automobile, monetary compensation may be the last thing on your mind. However, in addition to the emotional devastation unexpected death causes, it also causes financial devastation. Though Florida law cannot ease your grief, its wrongful death statute does strive to ease the financial burden created by unexpected loss.
Florida Statute 768.21 under Title XLV states that each survivor party to a wrongful death claim may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the deceased’s injury to the date of his or her death. Damages may accrue interest and include future loss of support and services from the date of death. The courts will reduce damages for future losses to the present value.
To calculate the value of loss of support and services, the courts will consider the claimant’s relationship to the deceased, the deceased’s probable and net income available for distribution and the cost of services necessary to replace those typically performed by the deceased. The courts will also take into consideration the joint life expectancies of both the decedent and the survivor.
If you are the surviving spouse of the deceased, you may recover for loss of protection and companionship. You may also recover for pain and suffering and mental anguish from the date of the injury.
As the surviving child of the decedent, you may recover for loss of parental instruction, companionship and guidance. The courts may also award you damages for mental anguish and pain and suffering. However, you may only recover damages if there is no surviving spouse.
If you are the surviving parent of the deceased, you may only recover damages if your child does not have a surviving spouse or kids. In this case, you may recover for mental pain and suffering.
Regardless of who the decedent is to you, you may recover compensation for the costs of a funeral. You may also recover money for medical expenses accrued from the date of the injury to the date of death.