There is no amount of money that can truly offset the cost of a death on your family. No compensation will undo the grief you experience when you lose a parent, a child or a spouse. However, financial compensation can protect surviving family members from hardship as a result of their family’s loss.
Still, death is not cheap, and acclimating to life without a loved one is even more expensive. Florida permits surviving family members to bring wrongful death lawsuits against those who have caused the death of another person.
Part of bringing such a lawsuit involves establishing a value for the claim. How do you determine the amount to request in a wrongful death lawsuit?
The first step involves reviewing financial records
When you lose a loved one due to default, negligence or wrongful acts by another person or a company, you can seek compensation for the provable financial consequences of that death. These provable financial losses are the first and easiest calculation to make in a wrongful death lawsuit.
You will have actual bills from the hospital that treated your loved one, the ambulance that transported them and the funeral parlor that conducted their wake and burial. You will also have records of their income and have an idea of the value of the benefits that they earned as part of their work. All of those amounts will factor into what you claim.
You can also make a claim based on the unpaid work your loved one did around the house, ranging from cooking to changing the oil in your vehicles. Establishing what services they provided and the value those services currently have on the open market will make it easier for you to put a price on the unpaid labor that your loved one traditionally did for your family.
You can also seek loss of companionship and similar compensation
Your loved one didn’t just provide financial and practical support. They were also a part of your family and a source of emotional support. Loss of companionship, protection and other intangible relationship benefits are hard to value, but they can increase the amount you seek in a wrongful death suit. You can also seek compensation for any pain and suffering your loved one endured before death.
In some cases, you may also be able to request punitive damages. However, these are available only in the most extreme cases. The standard is much higher for punitive damages. You will need to either prove gross negligence or intentional law-breaking on the part of the person who caused the accident that claimed the life of your loved one.