Does a settlement for a wrongful death claim account for losses to adult children in Miami Florida?

In South Florida, jury awards stemming from medical malpractice wrongful death actions can be quite high including consideration for adult children, where any portion of their financial livelihood was covered by the deceased party.  Contact an attorney if you have lost a loved one due to negligence.

South Florida jury award for wrongful death is high.

A 24.5 million dollar settlement was awarded to a family who lost their loved one as a result of a delayed cesarean section that caused the mother to bleed out after giving birth.  According to court records, the jury awarded damages of $3.675 million to Chavez; $4.9 million apiece to their older children Karla, Octavio and Estrella. The four had previously been awarded $1 million apiece. Lillian, now 3, was awarded $6.125 million for, as with the other children, “the loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance and her pain and suffering as a result of Lilia Torres’ injury and death.”  This jury award was given in Broward County near Miami Florida.

Personal representative of estate files wrongful death action.

If a person dies due to a wrongful act in the State of Florida caused by negligence, breach of contract or default, the deceased person’s estate may file a civil suit for legal remedy for the death and losses related to it.  The personal representative of the estate will have to file the wrongful death civil claim on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and any surviving family members formally listed in the suit. If  someone dies as a result of medical malpractice, only certain, expressly defined family members can bring a case for the loss of the loved one.

Specific members can recover damages.

The specific family members who can bring a medical wrongful death case are: 1) children who are 25-years-old or younger; 2) adult children dependent on the deceased for financial support; 3) the spouse; and 4) the parents of a child who died due to malpractice can only recover if their child was 25 or younger at the time of death.   If a child is born to unmarried parents, the child can recover damages in a wrongful death case if his or her mother dies. If the child’s father dies, however, the child can only recover damages if the father had formally recognized the child as his own and was obligated to contribute to the support of the child.

Statute of limitations.

A wrongful death lawsuit in Florida must be filed within two years of the date of death in most cases, according to Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d). The deadline may be postponed, under a few very specific circumstances, which is why an experienced attorney with personal injury and wrongful death actions can help you determine exactly when the statute of limitations expires in an individual case.

Analysis of family loss decides monetary damages.

Because a wrongful death action is a civil claim brought to court by a representative of the deceased’s estate, the liability is expressed only in monetary damages.  If criminal activity surrounds the wrongful death, those damages may be punitive and do not result in payment to family members.

Florida Statutes section 768.21 sets out the state’s rules for awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages that surviving family members receive is based on:

  • the value of support and services the deceased person provided;
  • loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided;
  • mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a family member, and
  • medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.

The deceased person’s estate may recover:

  • lost wages, benefits, and future earnings;
  • lost earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect; and
  • medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.

If you have suffered the loss of a loved one through the negligence of a third party, contact the Law Offices of Orlando R. Murillo for a consultation to move forward with a wrongful death claim for damages.  Damages may include hospital/medical expenses; past and future wages; emotional distress including depression and anxiety; loss of enjoyment of life; physical pain and suffering; and loss of love and companionship due to the wrongful death.

Orlando R Murillo P.A.
7350 SW 89th Street, Toscano Building
Suite 100
Miami, Florida 33156
Phone: 786-530-4288