If your family lost a family member to an intentional or accidental death, Florida law allows a civil action for the family to seek justice by recovering comprehensive monetary damages from the wrongdoer. The legislative intent for a wrongful death claim is to replace economic and noneconomic losses directly stemming from a negligent act. James O. Cunningham is a Florida wrongful death lawyer who has devoted his career to providing compassionate, skilled legal services to families transitioning from grief to life without a family member after a tragic and preventable death.
History of the Wrongful Death Claim in Florida
The United Kingdom was the first to allow a civil action for recovery of damages in an Act of the Parliament. The Fatal Accidents Act 1846, more commonly referred to as Lord Campbell’s Act, is the basis for wrongful death actions around the globe.
The Florida state legislature incorporated Lord Campbell’s Act into its statutes in 1883. The legislature amended the statutes only once in 1899 and in 1972 made a complete overhaul. The 2003 version of the Florida Wrongful Death Act is the most current.
The intent of the Florida Wrongful Death Act, Florida Statutes §768.16 through §768.26, is to hold the wrongdoer responsible for losses resulting from a wrongful death. Put simply, survivors are entitled to a settlement to offset financial and emotional losses.
Survivors Allowed in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim
Florida Statute §768.20 states that the decedent’s personal representative, or executor of the decedent’s estate, can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate and the decedent’s survivors. If the deceased left no Will, then the family must choose an executor to open a probate action for the wrongful death claim.
Survivors under Florida Statute §768.18 include the decedent’s spouse, children, parents and any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters who are dependent upon the decedent financially. Of note, a child born out of wedlock to the mother is eligible as a survivor, but a child born out of wedlock to the father is not eligible unless the father recognizes and supports the child.
Compensable Damages Under the Florida Wrongful Death Act
Recoverable damages under Florida Statutes §768.21 include, but are not limited to the following:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of earnings
- Loss of cumulative net worth of the estate
- Loss of support and services, current and future
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental companionship and guidance
- Mental pain and suffering
Contact a Florida Wrongful Death Lawyer
There is no price tag or replacement for any human life, so monetary recompense is all that is available under the law. You need a Florida wrongful death attorney who is a skilled legal advocate. James O. Cunningham is a veteran litigator of personal injury claims, and he has the resources necessary to ensure a maximum recovery on your behalf.
Do not delay, as there are time restrictions that may apply to your wrongful death claim. Locations for the Law Offices of James O. Cunningham, P.A., are located throughout Central Florida for your convenience, or you can even get assistance from his office through the website by chat or email.