When a parent loses a child due to the negligent acts of another person, there is no adequate compensation for a parent grieving the death of the child. Ask a parent the following question: How much does your child mean to you? The answer to this question varies but rarely includes a dollar figure. Many parents would say that a child means everything or that the child means the world. That certain bond between parent and child is expected is last the parent’s lifetime. Some may say that it is only natural that the child outlive the parent. That is the natural course of things and life. When a child dies before a parent especially when a young child outlives a parent, it is unnatural. It is unsettling. When a child dies, it is both tragic and unsettling for the surviving parents. It is not only tragic for the moment but for the rest of the parent’s lifetime.
In Florida, the law controlling damages or compensation for the death of a person including that of a child is governed by Chapter 768, Florida Statutes which contains the Florida Wrongful Death Act. Through this statute and related case law, there is a framework in place that governs the award and assessment of damages. While there is a framework, there is no formula per se when dealing with the death of a person or a child due to the negligence of another person business, or government entity.
While there is no formula for the exact award of compensation for a grieving parent, there are a few concepts to keep in mind:
1. A minor child, as defined by the Florida Wrongful Death Act, is a child under the age of 25 years old.
2. Damages are based on the joint expected life expectancy of the child and the parent. In other words, it is based on the time period that the parent and child would have lived together and not on the life expectancy of the child.
3. The pain and suffering of the child are not compensable damages in a Florida Wrongful Death case.
4. There are no limits to damages or compensation unless the case involves medical malpractice and / or a government entity.
The book titled – When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty – The Wrongful Death of a Child – What You Need to Know About The Florida Wrongful Death Act – has chapters on Damages – Compensation, the Basics of the Florida Wrongful Death Act, and other topics. You can get this book for free at When a Parent’s World Goes From Full to Empty.