In Florida, the death of a child can and does have a life long impact on a parent. While the death of a child in some cases speaks for itself, in most cases, the relationship between the parent and child is explored to determine how close or how distant the relationship was between the parent and child. While there are no formulas per se in place to compensate a parent for the loss or death of a child in Florida, a jury can consider the quality of the relationship and the efforts put in place by the parent to care for and spend time with the child during the child’s lifetime. Typically, the closer the relationship and stronger bond between parent / child result in a larger verdict or settlement in favor of the grieving parent for the untimely and wrongful death of the child. Because of the complexities of a Florida Wrongful Death case, parents should hire a Florida Personal Injury Attorney to review the facts and pursue the case / claim on behalf of the estate and parents.
In Collins v. Florida Towing Corporation Et. Al. , 262 So.2d 459 (Fla. 1st D.C.A. 1972), a lawsuit was filed against the Florida Towing Corporation and Commodores Point Terminal Corporation for the drowning death of a child. The personal representative of the estate of the minor child alleged that the Defendant was negligent by allowing a dangerous condition on the property that constituted an Attractive Nuisance or lure to children in the area. As a result of the alleged negligence or dangerous condition on the property, the plaintiff alleged that the child drowned. Thereafter, the Florida wrongful death lawsuit was filed for damages / compensation for the death of the child. In this case, the jury entered a verdict in favor of the Defendants except for a small award for funeral expenses. The Plaintiff appealed the verdict, in part, due to the admission of evidence that the father had prior to the death of the child abandoned his wife and children to live with another woman at a location that was from from the residence of the wife and children. The Plaintiff argued that the evidence was prejudicial and therefore constituted grounds for a new trial. The First District Court of Appeal ruled that the evidence was admissible and noted that the jury was entitled to know this information in making a determination as to a damage award to the Plaintiff.
In the Collins case, the jury and judge ultimately did not award any compensation for pain and suffering to the parents. In the case, there was a problem with liability as well as the damages suffered by the parent. The Collins case shows that evidence regarding the quality of the relationship as well as acts prior to the death of the child can be considered by the jury in a Florida Wrongful Death case.
In Florida and other States, parent / child relationships have their good days and bad days. There are no perfect parents out there but, in the eyes of a jury, there are probably some parents who are more deserving than other parents when entering an award for damages. The loss or death of a child can and does have a lasting effect on most every parent. Yes, there are some parents who abandon their children or never see their children, but most parents have an emotional bond of some kind with their children and deserve to be compensated when there is negligence or fault that causes the wrongful death of a child. The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Automobile Accidents, Damages / Compensation, Medical Bills / Medical Treatment, Water Park and Swimming Injuries, and other topics. You can receive this book for free at The ABCs of Child Injury.