Estate Planning Law Office of Attorney Joseph F. Pippen, Jr. & Associates
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Q.  What are the requisites and damages recoverable in a wrongful death action?

A.   1.  FILING SUIT:  The only party who is qualified to bring a wrongful death action in the State of Florida is a personal representative of the estate.  The personal representative must meet certain requirements as established by Florida law.


      2.  STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS:  The action for a wrongful death must be brought within two years from the date of death to comply with the statute of limitations.  However, it may be suspended in some cases due to the death of the personal representative.


      3.  VENUE:  Venue usually lies in the county in which the decedent was domiciled before his death, or the county in which the decedent was possessed of property or had creditors.  Occasional proper venue may be established where the negligent act occurred.


1.      PERSONS ENTITLED TO RECOVER:  Those who may be entitled to recover are qualified survivors including decedentís spouse, minor children, parents (if the decedent was a minor) and other wholly dependent blood relatives.  Adopted brothers and sisters may also qualify.


2.      DAMAGES:  Wrongful death damages are determined by a jury.  The following are a few of the categories available for damages:


a.      Loss of support and services;

b.      Mental pain and suffering;

c.      Loss of companionship;

d.      Medical or funeral expenses;

e.      Punitive damages;

f.        Loss of employment income.


Damages vary from case to case, depending on circumstances, age of the deceased, and many other factors.


3.      EXPERT WITNESSES:  Normally an economist will testify as to the value of the different categories above and how inflationary trends will affect support in the future.

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