What is wrongful death?

Wrongful death occurs when a person acts with a reckless disregard for safety or conducts an intentional act that leads to another person’s death. A wrongful death claim is a civil action that can be brought by surviving family members. A wrongful death cause of action generally requires the following elements to be present:
  • The death of a human being that was caused by another’s negligence or with intent to cause harm;
  • Surviving family members who have suffered monetary injury due to the death; and
  • The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate.
Some common causes of wrongful death include:
  • Automobile or airplane accident
  • Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances
  • Death that occurs during a supervised activity
  • Workplace accidents
  • Drunk driving, texting, and criminal acts
  • Medical malpractice

Who can bring a wrongful death suit?

A survivor of a person who was killed due to wrongful death can bring a wrongful death suit. In Florida, eligible survivors generally include the decedent’s:
  • Spouse;
  • Children;
  • Parents;
  • Any blood relatives; and
  • Adoptive brothers and sisters who were dependent on the decedent for support or services.
A child born out of wedlock may be part of a wrongful death action on behalf of the mother, but not on behalf of the father, unless he has recognized a responsibility to pay for child support.

What Types of Damages May Be Available to Survivors?

Survivors are eligible to recover expenses to compensate them for what the decedent would have contributed if he or she were still living. Although it is impossible to bring back the decedent, wrongful death law aims to make the survivors whole again through financial compensation. Therefore, survivors are eligible to recover financially for the contributions that the decedent would make if he or she were still living. Essentially, the court or jury will consider the survivors’ relationship to the decedent and assign a dollar value to the lost relationship. Applicable damages begin accruing from the date of injury or death and may include:
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of services
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of protection
  • Mental pain and suffering
  • Loss of instruction and guidance (for surviving children)
  • Medical or funeral expenses
The loss of financial support is determined by calculating the net income that the decedent would have earned in a lifetime, and how much of that income would have been available to each eligible survivor.

An Experienced Attorney Will Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve

Seidensticker and San Filippo understand that you may be suffering, angry and grieving due to your loss or the loss of someone close to you. Evaluating and pursuing a legal claim may not seem like a priority. But our firm is in a position to alleviate that burden and help you through this difficult time. We will work tirelessly on your behalf, striving to help you recover all that you are eligible for. Although we can’t bring your family member back, we can help you seek justice and compensation for the financial support that you may have lost.  We will advocate for you to receive financial compensation for the pain and suffering you have endured due to your family member’s wrongful death. Contact us today for a consultation.