Wrongful Death Damages in Florida – F.S. 768.21

March 7, 2021

Understanding wrongful death damages in Florida is crucial to both evaluating and prosecuting wrongful death claims. Florida Statute section 768.21 designates which relatives of a decedent are eligible to receive specific categories of damages, including:

  • Loss of companionship and protection
  • Mental pain and suffering
  • Loss of support and services
  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses

Factors including the age of the decedent and whether the decedent was survived by a spouse and/or children affect which categories of damages will be available to survivors in a specific wrongful death case. Knowing what categories of damages will be available to a decedent’s family is crucial to successfully resolving a claim against the person who caused your client’s death. For instance, signing up a survivor not entitled to significant damages can lead to investment in a case that does not yield a return. Taking the time to fully understand wrongful death damages in Florida will assist in case selection and allow your firm to set client expectations accurately.

Wrongful death damages chart

Our flow chart, linked below, breaks down what kind of Florida wrongful death damages are available to each category of survivors:

Choosing to work with a probate firm that appreciates the nuances of the Wrongful Death Act is important to securing authority to sue on behalf of the decedent’s estate and to the proper assignment of damages between the survivors and the estate. Both plaintiff’s and probate attorneys must understand the rights of survivors in order to determine 1) who has preference to act as personal representative of the estate, and 2) who is entitled to each category of damages.

Misunderstanding how damages are allocated to survivors can lead to strategic mistakes and needless reduction of your clients settlement proceeds. As discussed in our blog article here, damages due to survivors are not subject to claims against the decedents estate. Paying unnecessary liens is best avoided by collaborating with a probate law firm experienced in wrongful death settlement allocation and securing approval of the settlement in probate court.

Wrongful death settlement apportionment can additionally factor into fee battles between injury firms representing individual survivors in a single claim. Read here about how to protect your fee in a case where multiple law firms are competing for a fee in a Florida wrongful death case.

Florida Probate Law Group works with injury firms across the state to administer wrongful death estates on a flat fee basis with no fees or costs up front. We understand wrongful death damages in Florida and are here to secure your fee and maximize your clients recovery. Call us anytime at (352) 354-2654 or email cdavid@floridaprobatelawgroup.com for advice on probate, government benefit, or guardianship issues affecting your settlements.

Written by: Charles “Cary” David, probate attorney serving plaintiff’s firms statewide.

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