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What damages may be recovered in a wrongful death action?

The state of Florida has established by statute the types of damages that may be claimed and by whom they may be claimed in a wrongful death civil suit. Typically, only the surviving spouse, the lineal descendants or a representative of the estate of the person who died may claim damages. In some instances, the parents of the decedent may also bring a wrongful death action.

Each plaintiff may recover the present value of an amount determined by the loss of support and services from the date of death. In a case where the decedent was injured prior to death, the survivors may recover for loss of support and services during the period of injury. In calculating damages, the judge or jury may consider the relationship of the survivor to the decedent, the replacement value of the services and the distribution of the decedent's likely net income to each individual survivor.

A surviving spouse may claim damages for the loss of protection, loss of companionship and mental pain and suffering. The decedent's minor children may also claim for lost companionship, mental pain and suffering as well as lost instruction and guidance. The decedent's adult children might also recover if there is no surviving spouse.

In a case where the decedent is a minor child, the parents may recover for mental pain and suffering. Parents of a deceased adult may pursue damages via a wrongful death claim if the decedent is not survived by anyone else.

Each case presents unique facts and circumstances, and this information is not meant to be seen as legal advice. Those who have questions about wrongful death claims may choose to consult an attorney with experience in personal injury matters.

Source: The 2014 Florida Statutes, "768.21 Damages"

Source: Online Sunshine, "CHAPTER 768 NEGLIGENCE", September 29, 2014

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