As a personal injury attorney in New Port Richey, one of the most heart-breaking types of cases I handle is the wrongful death of a loved one in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of another person.
Florida law recognizes a claim in these cases for the surviving loved ones of the deceased. Individual survivors who may have a legal claim include the surviving spouse, minor children, adult children, parents, blood relatives, and in some circumstances, adopted brothers and sisters.
The primary damages sought in these matters are compensatory and may include medical expenses incurred as a result of the motor vehicle accident prior to the death of the loved one, as well as funeral and burial expenses. Income the victim would have earned throughout their lifetime if they had survived is another consideration. Also factored into compensatory damages are loss of services provided by the deceased such as transportation, child care, household chores, lawn work, etc. Additionally, loss of companionship, instruction and guidance, and mental pain and suffering of the survivor of the deceased.
Punitive damages may be sought in cases where the offending driver’s actions are so egregious or reckless that the court deems them warranted to punish the at fault driver.
A difficult, complicated determination
Some of these damages are fairly easy to determine. For example, loss of services is fairly easy to ascertain as it can typically be determined by the present-day cost of the services the deceased provided to the survivor prior to their passing.
On the other hand, loss of companionship, instruction, and guidance is far more difficult to define economically as it relies upon evidence concerning the emotions of the survivor and how the loss of their loved one will affect their life from this point forward.
Loss of net accumulations of the estate are only available to a surviving spouse, lineal descendants (blood relatives in the direct line of descent), or the estate of a deceased adult child if survived by a parent and no lost support or services are recoverable.
As you can see, these cases are very complicated and require different knowledge and experience, than other automobile negligence cases. Therefore, hiring a firm that has the knowledge of how these cases should be investigated, prepared, and presented is imperative.
If you have suffered the tragic loss of a loved one due to vehicular negligence or you have other questions about wrongful death, please contact my team – The Law Office of Chuck Philips – in Trinity, Spring Hill, Brooksville or Inverness. We can help you through this difficult time, and provide the counsel you need.