What are the Legal Rights of a Parent of a Teen Killed in a Florida Automobile Accident?
Parents work tirelessly to raise and mentor their children. Parents make sacrifices every day to provide for the health, safety, and welfare of their children. During the infant and toddler years, parents or appropriate care providers are typically with the child at all times. As a child grows older, it is not practical, possible, or necessary for a parent to be that 24 / 7 protector of their children. As a child grows older, we, as parents, cannot be everything for our children. They must and do venture out in the world. As teenagers, parents still provide for their children and serve as guides and mentors. When a teen is away from a parent on a short trip or a long one, a parent will worry but, again, cannot be there at all times. Tragically, many teens die as a result of Florida Automobile Accidents on a far too frequent basis. Through no fault of the teen victim, a life is lost due to the negligence or carelessness of another driver. The at-fault driver may be another teen driver, an adult driver, a commercial driver, truck driver, etc. . . No matter the identity of the at-fault driver or at-fault owner of the automobile, truck or vehicle, a teen’s life is lost and parents will grieve after the accident and for a lifetime for that matter.
It is interesting to note that in the English dictionary there is no word designated for a parent who loses a child. When a man loses his wife, he is a widower. When a wife loses her husband, she is a widow. When a child loses his parents, he is an orphan; however, when a parent loses a child, there is no word to describe the parents. Furthermore, the pain in losing a child is indescribable.
Certainly, the first thought that enters a parent’s head following the death of a child is not “Let’s get an attorney.” It is more common and natural for a parent to be in shock and a loss for word or rational thought. Questions that commonly arise include the following: What happened? How could this be? Is this a nightmare? Is this a mistake? Could my child really be gone?
Following the death of a child, final arrangements will need to be made and, at some point in time, the parents, another family member, or close family friend may decide to seek out a Florida Child Injury Lawyer for advice, consultation, and potential legal representation. When a child / teen dies as a result of a Florida Automobile Accident, the case or claim is subject to the Florida Wrongful Death Act which is government under Chapter 768, Florida Statutes. Wrongful death cases are handled differently than other types of personal injury cases. There are formalities and procedures unique to Florida Wrongful Death Cases.
One point that is not generally known or understood by many people is the fact that the pain, suffering, and mental anguish of a wrongful death cases are limited to the parents and children of the deceased teen. The pain and suffering of the teen prior to his or her death is not technically counted as an element of damages in a Florida Wrongful Death Case. Furthermore, the duration of damages considered is not the duration of the child’s expected life span if the incident did not take plan. The duration of damages is the time period in which the parent and child would have lived together. In other words, let’s say a 15 year old teen dies. The father of the teen is 45 years old and has a life expectancy of 35 years. Under this basis fact scenario, the future damages could include the next 35 years because that represents the time period that the father and child could have spent together assuming that child would have lived that long as well. If the child had some kind of pre-existing condition or ailment that would have made his life expectancy less than that of the father’s, then the number of years of future damages for the pain and suffering of the parent would be less. As you can see, the nuances of damages the Florida Wrongful Death Act can be quite confusing. As such, it makes sense to a parent to contact a Florida Child Injury Lawyer when needing advice, guidance, and legal representation regarding these matters.
The book - 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, Life Expectancy, and other topics. You can get this book for free at From Full to Empty.