The death of a loved one is devastating for surviving family members and close friends. That loss is compounded when their passing is sudden and due to the negligence of others. Wrongful death lawsuits are some of the most challenging and emotional claims our attorney takes on. They are also some of the most complicated cases because there are many moving parts and the awarded damages are often divided among survivors. These lawsuits are traumatic for survivors as they must relive the loss throughout the case.
Florida Law lays out how wrongful death settlements are paid out including who can receive the amount, what damages can be considered, and at what value. This entirely depends on your relationship to the deceased and certain relationships and financial considerations are considered priority over others.
- Surviving Spouses: If you lost your husband or wife in an auto accident or another incident that caused fatal injury, you are eligible to recover compensation for the loss of companionship, protection, and mental pain and suffering dating back to the day of the injury or death.
- Surviving Minor Children: Children under 18 who’ve lost a parent can receive damages for loss of parental companionship and guidance, mental pain and suffering. Surviving minor children need financial assurances for the future, and that may involve a guardian who will administer these funds until the child comes of age. If there’s no spouse or no surviving spouse, all children regardless of age are eligible for these benefits.
- Surviving Adult Children: Damages given to adult children are subject to special provisions. If the grown children are dependents such as a disabled child (or an aging parent with health concerns), they may have the same agreement as with minor children where a third party is responsible for overseeing their disbursement of compensation who acts on their behalf with consideration for their best interests.
- Surviving Parents: Parents who have lost a minor child can seek mental pain and suffering from the date of injury or death. Loss of an adult child may also apply to these damages, but that depends on whether there are other survivors.
- The Estate of the Deceased: These include net accumulations and lost earnings that the deceased would have accrued over their lifetime. While the surviving family members will not be required to pay taxes on compensatory and punitive damages, the monies given to the estate may be subject to taxation for estate taxes and income taxes that the lost loved one would have paid throughout their lifetime.
There are other caveats involved in wrongful death lawsuits including the expenses involved in medical care, mortuary preparation, and funeral expenses. Those damages are paid to the survivor who initially covered those costs. Compensation can also involve legal fees and estate expenses.
Wrongful death settlements can become even more intricate if surviving family members are all adults who can’t come to an agreement on a fair division of the compensation.
Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney in Fort Myers or Naples
Wrongful death lawsuits are complex and require an experienced attorney who has a history of successful verdicts. If you’ve lost a loved one due to an avoidable injury or incident caused by negligence, please contact our Jim for Justice at The Kelleher Firm in Fort Myers and Naples at (833) 546-3675 for a FREE consultation.