Florida law defines wrongful death as one that occurs when one party’s wrongful act, either through negligence, malintent or breach of contract, caused the death of another person.
The state allows the executor of the deceased’s estate to pursue damages through civil court on behalf of the family. Those damages may include economic and non-economic losses and sometimes punitive damages.
The devastation families face after the unanticipated loss of a loved one includes financial damages. While the court system cannot replace a family’s loss, eligible members can pursue compensation for the following:
- The cost of medical care the loved one received for their injuries before death
- The loss of income and benefits the loved one provided for the household
- The loss of inheritance or contributions to retirement accounts
- The cost of repairing or replacing damaged property from the accident
- Expenses related to the funeral and burial
Any expense directly connected to the accident and a loved one’s death is potentially recoverable.
Non-economic losses cover the emotional impact of the loss. For example, a spouse can seek to recover for the pain and suffering endured endured and the loss of companionship, nurturing, care, love, society and guidance they provided. Spouses can also claim loss of consortium.
In Florida, if the at-fault party’s actions displayed gross negligence, malicious intention or recklessness, the court may require them to pay punitive damages in addition to compensatory damages as a form of punishment. Each situation will differ, however, when it comes to eligibility.