Wrongful Death Litigation
Tragedy can strike when you least expect it. It is never easy to deal with death, but it is especially difficult when death occurs because of the wrongdoing of others. Florida has a framework in place to assist those in recovering monetary damages for those who have lost loved ones due to negligence or, in some cases, recklessness or the intentional acts of others. Examples include fatal automobile accidents and premises liability incidents.
Florida’s wrongful death statute is relatively complex and requires the help of lawyers in many circumstances to navigate. At Burnett Law, P.A., we have significant experience dealing with this unfortunate area of the law. We can help your family through this challenging time and help you recover damages for your loss.
Who Represents The Deceased?
Florida Statutes Sections 768.16-768.26 set forth the statutory framework for the estate of a descendant and qualifying survivors. In all wrongful death actions, the action is brought by the descendant’s representative, who then recovers for the benefit of the decedent’s survivors and estate. We will assist you in setting up an estate if necessary so that the personal representative can obtain damages.
Survivors And Damages From Wrongful Death
The damages available for qualifying survivors include the value of lost support and services. The term “survivor” under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act means the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. The term also includes children born out of wedlock to a mother, but not a child born out of wedlock to a father (unless the father has recognized a responsibility for child support).
The surviving spouse is also able to recover for the loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection, and mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury.
Minor children of the decedent (children under 25 years of age), and all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, may recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, guidance and mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury.
Each parent of a deceased minor child may recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury. Each parent of an adult child may recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors.
Medical or funeral expenses may be recovered by the survivor who has paid them.
In cases where the injuring party’s actions were intentional, reckless or grossly negligent, a court may award punitive damages. These damages can sometimes be significantly more than an award for compensatory damages, as the purpose of punitive damages is to punish the tortfeasor (the offending party) and/or discourage similar behavior in the future.
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At Burnett Law, P.A., we have experience in dealing with these types of cases and understand that these cases deserve the utmost care and attention. Please keep in mind; there are important deadlines that must be met to qualify under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. Please contact our wrongful death attorneys to learn more about your legal options and to set up a free consultation. Call 813-221-5000.