West Palm Beach Personal Injury Attorney: Florida's Wrongful Death Act – Protecting Those Left Behind

During over a quarter century of practice I have often been asked about what remedy is available when the negligence of another causes death. In Florida, this is referred to as “wrongful death.”
The Florida Wrongful Death Act is designed to shift the losses resulting when wrongful death occurs from the survivors of the deceased to the wrongdoer. The law defines which survivors can recover damages. This depends on several factors, including whether the decedent is married and the age of any children.
Depending upon the survivor, damages may include loss of support and services; loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection; mental anguish; loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance; medical or funeral expenses; and loss of net accumulations resulting from future earnings.
Most people are quite surprised to learn that a value is not placed on the loss of the life itself. To the contrary, the damages are measured not on the value of the life of the deceased, but on the losses suffered by those left behind.
The Wrongful Death Act protects survivors in two ways. First, the Act allows for monetary damages which help provide financial security to those left behind. In cases involving the loss of the family breadwinner, with small children left behind, these damages may be crucial to the family’s very survival. Regardless of the circumstances, the Wrongful Death Act compensates the survivors for what was taken from them, both monetarily and non-monetarily.
The second protection the Wrongful Death Act provides often is not understood or appreciated. This protection is simply providing the ability of the survivors to obtain some sense of closure. As attorneys, we cannot undo the hands of time and prevent a tragedy from occurring. On the other hand, through the litigation process we are often able to uncover details of the event and provide answers to questions that have plagued the survivors. Moreover, we assist them in achieving their ultimate goal – – not money but justice. Justice for the loss of their loved one. Justice that will allow them to sleep at night with the knowledge that they have done everything they can to vindicate the loss of their loved one. Justice that will allow them some sense of closure so they can move forward with their lives.