How Are a Parent’s Damages Measured or Assessed in a Wrongful Death Case?

Gavel%20and%20Scales%20of%20Justice.jpg

The wrongful death of a child is an event that can and does have a lifelong effect on a grieving parent. The Florida Courts have addressed the issue of damages awardable toa parent in a number of cases.

Due to the complexities of Florida law, a parent should consult with a Florida Personal Injury Attorney regarding the various issues that arise in these kind of cases. The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know has chapters on Swimming and Water Park Injuries, Automobile Accidents, School Injuries, Day Care Center Injuries, Damages / Compensation, Medical Treatment / Medical Care, and other topics. You can received this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.

In Gross Builders, Inc. v. Powell, 441 So.2d 1142 (Fla. 2nd D.C.A. 1983), a Florida wrongful death lawsuit was filed against an apartment complex where the family had resided. The Second District Court of Appeal in its opinion noted that Section 768.21, Florida Statutes, provided that each parent of a decased minor child could be awarded damages for pain and suffering. The Court also noted that a jury could consider the joint life expectancies of the child and the parents in making the decision as to the award of reasonable and appropriate damages. This case centered around the tragic death of Franz Powell, age 3. It was reported that Franz drowned in the apartment complex swimming pool. The jury returned a verdict in favor of the family. In considering and entering the verdict on this case, the Judge gave the jury instructions as to wrongful death damages and guides.

The trial judge instructed the jury that Florida’s Wrongful Death Act provided that parents of a deceased minor child are entitled to recover pain and suffering related damages following the death of the child. Florida law allows a jury to consider the joint life expectancies of the parents and child to award damages. Florida law recognizes that a parent’s pain and suffering associated with the loss of a child can and does extend well beyond the child’s age of minority. In other words, the grief or loss of a child does not stop at the age of 18 or 21 but can and does extend to the lifetime of the parent. Had the child lived, the parent would have been able to spend and enjoy years upon years of the parent / child relationship. Tragically, these years are robbed from the parent when a negligent or careless act causes the untimely and preventable death of a child.