How Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Distributed?
The loss of a family member brings great grief and pain along with the financial and other hardships accompanying the death. Damages relating to the untimely death of a loved one will need to be determined according to Florida law, and could apply to a variety of expenses and loss incurred because of the negligence of outside parties that may have contributed to or caused the death.
If the family of the deceased files a wrongful death suit, they will need to understand the process of determining compensation and distributing it. In order to decipher how a settlement might be distributed, it’s important to first determine the specifics of what may legally be awarded, and who may legally be awarded damages.
What Damages Might Be Collected in a Wrongful Death Suit?
In a wrongful death suit, beneficiaries may be entitled to various forms of compensation. The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows for prosecution of wrongful death by a personal representative on behalf of the family of the deceased. The statute describes various types of damages that may be awarded:
- Bills for end of life medical care and/or funeral expenses
- Loss of Companionship, guidance and/or instruction
- Mental pain and suffering
- Future Therapy
- Lost wages and future income
- Interest on lost financial support
- Loss of prospective accumulations
- Punitive damages
Those Entitled to Damages
Florida mandates that only a blood relative or a probate court-appointed representative are eligible to file Wrongful Death suits. Additionally, based on Florida Statute requirements, only beneficiaries who are determined to be surviving family members may be entitled to compensation. An experienced personal injury attorney can help determine entitlement status according to the Florida Statute.
Additionally, “the estate” consisting of the belongings and holdings of the deceased may need to be divided. Debt owed by the deceased may sometimes be satisfied out of the estate. It’s possible that debts could be ordered to be paid out of damages awarded, since the statute states that awards are subject to claims by creditors. Much depends on the existence of a will, and on the legal family survivors’ status.
In any case, it’s critical to seek the counsel of an experienced attorney or law firm. Tison Law Group understands that it’s difficult to go through the loss of a family member. They can help navigate through the questions and complexities of a wrongful death suit.