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What Damages Are Available in a Florida Wrongful Death Case?

March 4, 2024 Legal Team
flowers with gravestone in background with caption: Compensation Available in a Florida Wrongful Death Case

When a loved one dies it feels terribly wrong to the family members they leave behind, but legally, Florida considers a wrongful death as one directly caused by the careless, reckless, or wrongful actions of someone else. Florida allows close family members to file a wrongful death claim to recover their financial losses and compensation for the other consequences of the death. In a Florida wrongful death claim, a single family representative—typically the executor of the decedent’s will, which is often their spouse, parent, or adult child—files the claim on behalf of the family members who depended on the decedent’s income or household service.

If your loved one died due to preventable injuries caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, you may be wondering if your family could benefit from the compensation, accountability, and justice of a successful Florida wrongful death claim.

What Economic Damages Can My Family Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?

A family member’s death is always painful, but the grieving process may be exacerbated by financial concerns caused by the death if the family member was an income provider or a provider of household services such as child-rearing and caring for the home or property. A Florida wrongful death claim provides compensation for economic damages such as the following:

  • Lost income for the number of working years the deceased family member would have continued earning had they not died from their injury
  • Lost benefits such as health insurance and retirement contributions
  • Loss of household services such as childcare, transporting children to school and activities, housekeeping, shopping, lawn care, and repairs

All of the above losses associated with a family member’s death cause financial hardship for families. When someone else is responsible for the wrongful death, they are liable for these damages—typically paid through the appropriate insurance policy such as auto insurance after a car accident or malpractice insurance in a medical malpractice wrongful death case.

Non-Economic Damages in Florida Wrongful Death Cases

Grieving family members suffer other “damages” after the loss of a loved one. Non-economic damages may be a cold-sounding term but in injury and wrongful death cases, it refers to pain, suffering, grief, and anguish. These are intangible damages that are difficult to quantify but they are the most painful part of losing a family member. Common non-economic damages in Florida wrongful death claims include:

  • The decedent’s pain and suffering experienced before their death
  • The decedent’s fear of imminent death
  • Grief and anguish suffered by family members of the decedent
  • Loss of consortium (the emotional and physical relationship with a loved one)
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of a parent’s nurturing, guidance, and support
  • Loss of a child’s love and future aid and support

Financial compensation doesn’t erase these losses, but it’s the civil court’s only means of redress to victims. The additional financial compensation from non-economic damages relieves financial stress so loved ones can focus on their loss and move forward.

Punitive Damages for Florida Wrongful Death

If the actions that resulted in the loved one’s death were particularly egregious, such as a violent assault or drunk driving accident, family members may be awarded punitive damages. Punitive damages are not meant as compensation for losses but as a punishment to the wrongdoer and to serve as a deterrent to prevent a repeat of the behavior.

Speak to a Sarasota wrongful death attorney or a Bradenton wrongful death lawyer at Shapiro | Delgado | Hofmann about your loved one’s case to learn more about the damages available to you in your wrongful death claim in Florida.