Florida specifically created a Wrongful Death Act to protect the loved ones of those that who are killed due to another person’s negligence.
Unfortunately, these laws only protect the loved ones after someone has passed – and the number of wrongful death cases in the state continues to rise.
In 2013, some alarming statistics were reported regarding wrongful death cases, including:
- Medical Malpractice – In 2013, there were an estimated 98,000 deaths caused by surgical errors and misdiagnosis medical malpractice cases.
- Motor Vehicle Accidents – It was estimated that there were over 30,000 traffic fatalities across the country and 40 percent of those deaths were related to a DUI accident.
- Premises – Unsafe premises also are one of the leading causes of wrongful deaths in the country. In 2013, 20,000 fatalities were estimated to have occurred because of slip and fall injuries – and the biggest age group at risk were senior citizens.
- Workplace Injuries – Workplace accidents are extremely serious and while there are some job industries more dangerous than others, these companies are required to provide a safe work environment for their employees regardless of the risks.In 2013, there were over 6,000 deaths due to work-related injuries – with the majority of those being in the industrial and construction industries.
In Florida, Brevard County has the highest rate of accidental fatalities than the rest of the state with 48.3 per 100,000 people compared to the statewide average of 42.7 per 100,000 people.
Understanding the Florida Wrongful Death Act
Under the Act, wrongful death is a civil action that can be made by the surviving family members of a person that has passed away due to misconduct or negligence of another person or company.
These cases allow surviving family members to seek compensation and provide them with financial support after the loss of a loved one.
Under the Act, there are seven key things allowed:
1. The living spouse can recover damages – including pain and suffering as well as the loss of companionship for losing a spouse.
2. A living spouse can also recover the value of any lost services and loss of economic support – especially if the deceased was the primary income earner or the head of the household.
3. Other blood relatives that depended on the deceased can also collect compensation for the loss of those services and financial support. That means that children and adopted children can receive compensation.
4. Living children under the age of 25 are also allowed to collect intangible damages for mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of parental companionship.
5. If the deceased was employed at the time of their death, the income and assets that they would have accumulated during their lifetime (had they not passed) is eligible for compensation under the Act.
Therefore, the surviving family members can collect damages for those lost accumulations on behalf of the estate.
6. The estate can recover costs for medical bills that were a direct result of the responsible party’s negligence.
7. The estate or family can recover any costs for funeral and/or burial expenses that were the result of the deceased’s passing.
The Act does specify a specific time in which a person must file their wrongful death claim. Surviving family members must file their wrongful death lawsuit within this timeframe in order to collect potential damages.
Filing outside of this timeframe will result in no damages awarded by the courts.
Speak to a Personal Injury Attorney in Florida Regarding Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit
To file a wrongful death claim, it is best that you enlist the help of a top personal injury attorney. The team at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates can help you with your wrongful death claim.