What Kinds of Damages Can Parents Seek in Wrongful Death Actions?
Americans don’t see eye-to-eye on much right now, but virtually everyone can agree that losing a child is one of the hardest experiences anyone can be expected to overcome. No parent ever plans on outliving their children, so when it does happen, the aftermath is often unbearable. And if the death could have been prevented, that only amplifies the devastation left in the wake of the loss.
Fortunately, grieving parents have legal recourse in such scenarios. While taking action against those who were to blame won’t undo what happened, it could yield compensation, which can help the family pick up the pieces and start rebuilding their lives.
In a wrongful death claim involving a minor child, recoverable damages include:
- Medical bills;
- Funeral and burial expenses;
- Loss of future support and services; and
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering.
Quantifying the extent of support and services that the parents lost because of the death can pose a challenge. In an attempt to arrive at a reasonable figure, the court will consider the deceased’s age, health, and expected lifespan.
They will also consider what the child might have contributed to the household upon entering the workforce. While even the best guess will only be speculative, it can be used in the settlement negotiations as long as it’s supported by legitimate documentation. Such documentation might include academic records, demographic statistics, and work-life expectancy tables.
Assigning a monetary value to mental and emotional pain and suffering is also inherently challenging. After all, there’s no dollar amount that can make up for losing a child.
By considering a number of factors, though, it’s possible to determine a fair figure for such damages. Examples include the circumstances surrounding the death and the strength of the bond between the parents and the deceased at the time.
It’s worth noting that pain and suffering on the part of the parents are not recoverable in cases involving medical malpractice if the child was not a minor.
How Long Do Parents Have to Take Action Following the Wrongful Death of Their Child?
In the state of Florida, the typical statute of limitations for wrongful death suits is two years. That means parents generally have two years from the date on which the cause of action occurred—or should have been discovered through reasonable diligence—to file a formal lawsuit. Since there are a few exceptions to this deadline, though, it’s wise to seek legal counsel as soon as you suspect you have grounds for a claim.
Discuss Your Case with a Wrongful Death Attorney in Florida
If your loved one died because of another party’s negligence, turn to the compassionate team at Emerson Straw for help holding them accountable. With more than 70 years of collective experience in the legal field, we know what it takes to secure sizable settlements and verdicts. To schedule a free initial consultation with a wrongful death lawyer in Florida, complete our Contact Form or call (727) 821-1500.