Suddenly losing a loved one in a tragic car accident is one of the most painful experiences you can go through in life. The pain is compounded when you and others depended upon the deceased for financial support. In a situation like that, how close of a familial relationship do you have to have with the deceased in order to be able to recover for their death?
Which family members can recover?
The Florida legislature has laid out a list of family members that can recover in a wrongful death action, and their order of priority.
First and foremost, if the decedent leaves behind a spouse, that spouse can recover. Any minor children can also recover. If there is no surviving spouse, then all children can recover, even adult children. Finally, the decedent’s parents can recover.
What can they recover?
If the decedent left a surviving spouse, the spouse can recover for loss of support and services. The court calculates this by considering the decedent’s take-home income. The surviving spouse can also recover for loss of companionship and protection, and for mental pain and suffering caused by their loss.
If the decedent left children, the children can recover for loss of a parental relationship, mental pain and suffering, and loss of support. This applies only to minor children if there is a surviving spouse, or to all children if there is no surviving spouse. Parents can also recover for mental pain and suffering for the loss of their child.
No amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one. But a wrongful death lawsuit could be what you and the decedent’s other surviving loved ones need to support yourselves and put your lives back together after your loss.