How Are Net Accumulation Damages Determined in a Florida Wrongful Death Case?

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In Florida, damages for compensation can be pursued by the Personal Representative of the Estate of a person who died as a result of the negligence or fault of another person or business. These legal cases are governed or controlled by Chapter 768 – Florida Statutes. There are various forms of damages that can be pursued by the Estate / Personal Representative. These damages included a loss of Net Accumulations. The economics of a legal case can be very complicated and in some cases difficult to prove without proper documents, financial evidence, and expert testimony. A Florida Personal Injury Lawyer can counsel, represent, and advocate for family members pursuing a Florida Wrongful Death Act. Pursuant to Section 768.18 (5), Florida Statutes, Net Accumulations are defined as:
“(5) ’Net accumulations’ means the part of the decedent’s expected net business or salary income, including pension benefits, that the decedent probably would have retained as savings and left as part of her or his estate if the decedent had lived her or his normal life expectancy. “Net business or salary income” is the part of the decedent’s probable gross income after taxes, excluding income from investments continuing beyond death, that remains after deducting the decedent’s personal expenses and support of survivors, excluding contributions in kind.”
Net Accumulations consider the living expenses of the decedent and what the decedent was able to save (if anything) over his or her income. For instance, if a person earned $100,000 a year but did not save any money during the year, the Net Accumulations based on these figures would be nothing. Net Accumulations are also problematic for a person who was unemployed at the time of death or retired at the time of death. Often times, the hiring of an economist or a C.P.A. (Certified Public Accountant) is necessary to calculate and prove up the amount of or estimated amount of Net Accumulations.
In Tobias v. Acott – 681 So.2d 905 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1996 -, the jury awarded the Estate in a Florida Wrongful Death case $150,000 in loss of net accumulation damages. The Fourth District Court of Appeal reversed this jury award since there was no evidence presented as to the decedent’s income or salary let alone how much the decedent might have saved throughout his normal life expectancy. See also Arab Termite v. Jenkins – 409 So.2d 1039 (Fla. 1982).

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