Who Is Entitled to Wrongful Death Benefits in Florida?
One of the worst tragedies imaginable is losing a family member. It can be especially painful when your loved one’s death results from someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s actions, you may be able to receive wrongful death benefits by filing a wrongful death claim.
What Is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim can result when someone’s negligent or reckless behavior (or an unlawful act) leads to a loved one’s death. Wrongful death lawsuits are filed in civil court, not criminal court, and there’s a difference.
In a criminal action, the defendant is charged with murder or manslaughter and faces the potential of imprisonment. In contrast, a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit designed to financially compensate survivors for the loss of a loved one.
The typical scenarios that may result in a wrongful death claim include:
- Medical malpractice
- Car, truck, bicycle, boating, and pedestrian accidents
- Defective products
- Construction or other work-related accidents
- Criminal acts
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida
Each state handles wrongful death claims differently, and there are specific rules about who can file these claims, who can receive wrongful death benefits, and what benefits are available.
In Florida, the parties that can initiate a wrongful death claim are limited to either a personal representative named in the decedent’s will or someone appointed by the court if there is not a representative named in the will.
The potential beneficiaries of a recovery for a wrongful death, including the defendant’s estate, can be located in Fla. Stat. 768.21.
Fla Stat. 768.21 also discusses who can receive damages, and how damages are calculated.
Who Can Receive Wrongful Death Benefits?
The representative in a wrongful death claim generally files on behalf of the surviving members of the family who are eligible to be classified as beneficiaries.
Pursuant to Fla. Stat. 768.21, Beneficiaries may include:
- Parents (if there are no other named beneficiaries)
- Others relying on the person who passed away for financial support
Wrongful Death Benefits Available
Though each case varies, an action for damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can provide surviving family members with the following benefits:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses resulting from the incident that led to the person’s death
- Lost wages that the deceased person would have received during their lifetime
- Reimbursement for loss of companionship
- Reimbursement for household and other financial contributions
- Additional financial support and parental services (if the child is under 25 at the time of the death)
The beneficiaries can seek recovery for the loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering IF they qualify pursuant to Fla. Stat. 768.21
Wrongful death benefits are different when the case involves the death of a minor or parent of a minor. In these cases, financial compensation could then incorporate the emotional distress that comes from losing a child.
Contact an Experienced Attorney About Wrongful Death Benefits in Florida
We understand this is a difficult time for families, and the attorneys at Lyons & Snyder provide diligent and compassionate representation for those affected by a wrongful death. While there is no financial substitute for losing a loved one, we have helped families achieve settlements that provide for their financial futures. There is no fee unless your claim is successful. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch to schedule a free consultation.