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Wrongful Death Compensation

One of the largest wrongful death cases of all time is going on right now — the Michael Jackson lawsuit in Los Angeles against his concert promoters.  One of the big issues in that case is Jackson’s earning potential because the earning potential of the decedent drives the value of a wrongful death case.  Some observers value Jackson’s wrongful death case at more than $1 billion.

What is Wrongful Death? It is a death caused by the careless or deliberate act of another.  In Florida, there is a statute that governs causes of action for wrongful death.  Some examples of wrongful death liability are when death results from a doctor giving the patient the wrong medicine, an automotive manufacturer failing to warn people about a faulty gas line on cars, or a person being killed by a drunk driver.

Who Can Recover? Florida law allows the survivors of the decedent to seek compensation.  These survivors include a spouse, a child or parent, and any other relative or adoptive sibling that was dependent on the decedent for financial or emotional support.

What Can One Recover? A surviving spouse can recover for the loss of the decedent’s companionship as well as for mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury.  Minor children can recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and also for mental pain and suffering since the date of the injury. A parent of a minor child who died can recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of the injury, and the parent of an adult child who died may also recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors.  In addition, all of the survivors can recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to the death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of the death reduced to present value.  The survivor that paid them may recover medical or funeral expenses. Finally, punitive damages can be recovered to punish the wrongdoer and deter others where that party’s intentional, reckless, or grossly negligent actions resulted in the death.

If someone you love has died due to the actions or fault of another, our Jacksonville wrongful death attorneys can compassionately help you determine if you have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit.