Car Accident Fatalities And Wrongful Death In Florida
The year 2016 was the deadliest year for Florida drivers in 9 years. Not since 2007 has over 3,000 traffic fatalities been reported in a single year throughout the state, and many of these were the result of negligent driving. Driving while impaired, distracted driving, and aggressive driving were some of the biggest culprits according to Florida law enforcement, leading to a spike of wrongful death personal injury lawsuits also seen throughout the state.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits And Florida Law
Florida law recognizes two different categories of wrongful death damages one may be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit according to Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. The first is survivor’s damages, and the second are damages awarded to the estate of the deceased. While the estate is not eligible for as many damages when compared to survivor’s damages, this compensation is still very important to determining what beneficiaries may be entitled to after an accident has occurred.
Survivor’s pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one may recover damages in 5 very important categories. These categories include:
1. Lost support and services
Lost support and services refer to the financial support the loved one may have contributed to the home and property, and services refers to the tasks or other non-monetary contributions now missing in their absence. Services may include cleaning, driving, cooking, and other everyday tasks that survivors will now need to seek elsewhere since the accident.
2. Loss of companionship and protection
Loss of companionship and protection are intangible damages, not determined by your personal injury attorney in most cases, but by a jury. These damages are typically awarded to minor children, adult children, or the spouse of the deceased.
3. Mental pain and suffering
Mental pain and suffering damages may be collected by 5 categories of relation to the deceased, and these include spouse, minor children, adult children, parents of a deceased minor child, and parents of the deceased adult child. Like loss of companionship and protection, there is no set damages amount for mental pain and suffering, and one’s relationship with the deceased will often come into play when deciding what an appropriate settlement amount may be.
4. Loss of parental companionship and guidance
If the deceased had minor children, the children may be able to be awarded damages for the loss of parental companionship and guidance.
5. Medical and funeral expenses
When the medical and funeral expenses related to a wrongful death lawsuit have already been paid by a surviving loved one, these are also damages that may be able to be compensated through a wrongful death lawsuit. If they have no already been paid, medical and funeral expenses could be damages paid to the estate of the deceased.
Damages may also be paid to the estate of the deceased, and these are different from the damages paid out to survivors. Damages that may be collected by the estate of the deceased include:
1. Loss of net accumulations
Loss of net accumulations refers to the amount of money the deceased will not be able to contribute to their estate due to the accident resulting in their wrongful death, and this number will depend greatly on the employment of the deceased.
2. Lost earnings
Often confused with loss of net accumulations is lost earnings, but these are two very different things. If the date of the accident is different than the date of death, lost earnings refer to the amount lost during this period of time. If a loved one is in an accident and spends 1 week in the hospital before succumbing to their injuries, that week long period would be eligible for lost earnings damages if the deceased was employed at the time.
3. Medical and funeral expenses
If medical and funeral expenses related to the wrongful death lawsuit aren’t already paid by a survivor, they may be damages awarded to the estate of the deceased.