Seeking Justice For The Injured

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Wrongful death damages: how do courts distribute proceeds?

On Behalf of | Jul 7, 2023 | Wrongful Death |

Wrongful death cases can be lengthy and exhausting, especially for the victim’s surviving family, who are simultaneously mourning their loved one’s death. So, when the case ends and the court awards the rightful damages, it can bring a sense of relief to the family.

But the process does not end there. Interested parties still have to go through the distribution process. Florida sets the rules for the awarding of wrongful death damages.

Directly to the survivors

Usually, the court distributes wrongful death proceeds directly to the decedent’s surviving spouse and children. The survivors have the right to receive the following damages:

  • Loss of support and services from the date of death, present and future
  • Loss of spousal companionship and protection
  • Loss of parental companionship and guidance
  • Pain and suffering

A survivor who covered the decedent’s medical and funeral expenses can also recover the amount paid. Note that the distribution is subject to the court’s consideration of evidence of remarriage of the decedent’s spouse.

The estate can receive damages too

While some states only allow the award of wrongful death damages to the surviving family, Florida laws allow the decedent’s personal representative to recover damages for the owner’s estate. Damages that the estate may recover include the following:

  • Loss of earnings of the deceased, after subtracting loss of support from the amount
  • Loss or prospective estate net accumulations
  • Funeral expenses if the estate paid for the same

If both the estate and a survivor spent money to pay for the funeral expenses, the court shall pay the survivor first.

While the law is straightforward regarding who receives the proceeds of the wrongful death claim and which damages go to whom, it can still be confusing. Consulting with a legal professional can help you ensure you will receive the damages you are entitled to.