Florida wrongful death beneficiaries are the family members who qualify to receive compensation from a wrongful death claim. Florida law states who can receive compensation when a personal injury results in death.
Below, the Florida wrongful death lawyers at Maderal Byrne & Furst PLLC explain the beneficiaries of wrongful death claims in the Sunshine State.
Wrongful Death Beneficiaries in Florida
Which family members may receive compensation for wrongful death in Florida?
People who may receive compensation for wrongful death in Florida are:
A surviving spouse and minor children may always recover compensation. Parents of a deceased minor child may always recover compensation. A parent of an adult child may recover if there are no other survivors.
There may also be a claim brought by the estate for limited damages resulting to the victim’s estate.
What can a beneficiary recover for wrongful death in Florida?
What a beneficiary may recover for wrongful death in Florida depends on their relationship to the victim. It may also depend in part on what survivors exist. For example, parents of an adult child may recover if there are no other survivors.
Florida Wrongful Death Beneficiaries by Relationship to the Decedent
- Spouse: Value of lost support and services from injury to death, with interest, future support, and services reduced to present value; loss of companionship, protection, and mental pain and suffering.
- Minor children: Value of lost support and services from injury to death, with interest, future support, and services reduced to present value; lost parental companionship, instruction guidance, and mental pain and suffering.
- Adult children if no surviving spouse: Lost parental companionship, instruction, guidance, and mental pain and suffering. Even if there is a surviving spouse, a dependent adult child may recover lost support and services. Note: An adult child may not recover lost parental relationship damages or mental pain and suffering if the death occurred because of medical negligence.
- Parent of deceased minor child: Mental pain and suffering
- Parent of an adult child, if no other survivors: Mental pain and suffering. Note: Parents of an adult child do not recover mental pain and suffering if the wrongful death occurred because of medical negligence.
- Legal dependents: Value of lost support and services from injury to death, with interest, future support and services reduced to present value.
How is a child defined under Florida’s wrongful death law?
Florida’s wrongful death law defines a child as anyone under the age of 25.
What can the estate receive in wrongful death compensation in Florida?
The estate of a wrongful death victim may claim some compensation. The estate may claim certain losses that occur prior to, and because of the death:
- Lost earnings from the injury to death, less what would be spent on support of survivors
- Medical and funeral expenses, if absorbed by the estate
- Net accumulations of the estate if the victim had lived an average life expectancy
Awards to the estate are subject to creditors. While it may seem unfair that survivor support is deducted from lost earnings, the rule exists to prevent double recovery. Net accumulations of the estate may include what the victim would have received in pension payments.
FAQs About Florida Wrongful Death Beneficiaries
What if a child is adopted?
A child who is adopted has the same rights as natural born children when it comes to wrongful death compensation in Florida.
What about stepchildren?
A stepchild has the right to wrongful death compensation if they have been legally adopted. A stepchild who is not formally adopted does not have wrongful death beneficiary rights.
What happens if a beneficiary dies?
If a beneficiary to a wrongful death claim dies while the claim is pending, the claim does not survive. The beneficiary’s estate may recover an amount that represents their losses up until their death.
How does a person become a part of a Florida wrongful death claim?
The personal representative of the estate files the wrongful death claim. They must name all potential beneficiaries in the complaint.
How are damages calculated for wrongful death beneficiaries?
The court instructs the jury to compensate the decedent’s estate and survivors fairly and adequately. Still, determining wrongful death compensation is not an exact science. The jury may consider the evidence presented of losses. They may consider the life expectancy of those involved.
It is important to carefully present the evidence that you want the jury to weigh in its determination. Our lawyers can assist you with this task.
Can aunts, uncles, and cousins receive wrongful death compensation in Florida?
No, unless they were financially dependent on the deceased. This is rare.
Legal Help in Florida for Wrongful Death Beneficiaries
A wrongful death claim often involves multiple beneficiaries. They do not always agree, and it is important for a victim to have their legal rights protected and represented.
At Maderal Byrne & Furst, we go above and beyond to achieve justice for our clients. We provide high-quality legal representation to wrongful death beneficiaries.
To see how we can help you call or message our lawyers today.