What Damages / Evidence Are Considered When a Persons Loses a Spouse Due to a Florida Wrongful Death?

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In Florida, a wrongful death can and does have a life long impact on the surviving spouse and children. Cases involving the wrongful death of a spouse in Florida are controlled by Chapter 768 – Florida Statutes. Damages and compensation are particularly governed by Section 768.20, Florida Statutes. The amount of damages awarded depend on a number of factors including the length of the marriage, quality of the marriage, and dependence emotionally and financially on the person who was the victim of the Florida Wrongful Death. A Florida Personal Injury Attorney can help the surviving spouse through the complex legal issues involved in a Florida Wrongful Death case.
Pursuant to Section 768.21, Florida Statutes, a surviving spouse, in addition to the value of lost support and services, is entitled to recover the loss of decedent’s companionship and protection and for mental pai and suffering. Damages can be awarded to a surviving spouse for past and future losses including those relating to companionship, society, comfort, solace, love, sex, and help in performing tasks around the household. In proving these damages, evidence can be presented to show how extraordinarily close, affectionate, and dependent the marriage was. These are all relevant points to the marriage. See Ward v. Orange Memorial Hospital, 193 So.2d 492 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 1966).
In Davis v. Brown – 774 So.2d 775 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 2000), a jury awarded over $7,000,000 for the wrongful death of Kevin Brown who was married to Pamela Brown. The Browns were married for over 30 years. Pamela Brown was particularly close to her husband. The evidence presented at trial included the following facts:
1. Pamela Brown’s father abandoned the family during her childhood;
2. Pamela Brown had previously lost a sibling;
3. Pamela Brown’s stepfather had made sexual advances to her; and
4. Pamela Brown was 17 years old when she met her future husband.
The Defendant appealed the verdict based on the argument that prejudicial facts were presented at the trial that were improper and resulted in an excessive verdict. The Fourth Court of Appeal determined that the evidence was proper as it provided reasonable background information regarding the surviving spouse and her dependence and relationship with the decedent.

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