Florida’s new Wrongful Death Act provides a way for families who have lost loved ones due to another person’s negligence to receive compensation for damages. But understanding the details of the legislation and who benefits can be tricky.
Damages potentially covered include funeral expenses, child support (both monetary and emotional) and debts of the deceased person. It can be difficult, however, to determine how much money the damages total. The new act provides more specifics on what type and how much compensation a beneficiary can receive.
Two of the biggest issues with wrongful death cases are figuring out who is authorized to receive compensation for damages and who is the correct representative for the deceased. When dealing with loss and finances, the situation can quickly become complicated:
For example, a personal representative is the person authorized to file a lawsuit in a wrongful death case. But who is the proper personal representative? Sometimes a surviving spouse from a second marriage will file a wrongful death lawsuit and not include the correct beneficiaries. Other times a dispute will exist as to who will serve as the personal representative and thus who will control the decisions and the money from any award of the wrongful death lawsuit.
Florida legislatures are attempting to clarify some of these complex issues in the Wrongful Death Act. They have laid out the following guidelines for people eligible to qualify as beneficiaries:
- Children (including adopted children)
- Children born out of marriage in the case of the child’s mother being the deceased
- Children born out of marriage in the case of the child’s father being the deceased if the father was responsible for child support when alive
- Some cases: Siblings
- Some cases: Other blood relatives who were receiving support (whole or partial) from the deceased
If you have lost a loved one due to negligence or recklessness, visit our website to learn more about our experienced, expert Florida wrongful death attorneys. Contact us for a free consultation and to find out if you qualify for compensation through the Florida Wrongful Death Act.