Florida Wrongful Death Act – Is the Value of the Life of the Decedent or the Value of the Loss of the Surviving Family Members?

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In Florida, there are specific laws, statutes, and cases in place that govern the pursuit of a Florida Wrongful Death case. Many people believe that the purpose of a wrongful death case is to pursue the loss or value of the life of the family member.
Florida Wrongful Death cases are governed by Chapter 768, Florida Statutes and related case law. When pursuing a case for wrongful death, it is important the the relevant statutes are followed and that the case is pursued according to the specific Florida laws on point. There are many twists and turns to a Florida Wrongful Death case. Because of this, surviving family members should consult with and retain a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer to advise them on their respective rights and the Florida laws on point.
Florida law is clear in that the purpose of a wrongful death case is not to compensate for the loss of a life or the “value of human life”. These kind of arguments have been deemed to be improper by the appellate courts. In Public Health Trust of Dade County v. Geter, 613 So.2d 126 (Fla. 3rd D.C.A. 1993), the Third District Court of Appeal noted that the “value of human life” argument was found to be improper.
In a Florida Wrongful Death Act case, it is not the value of human life but the losses to the surviving family members that count or have relevance for purpose of awarding monetary damages. In Wilbur v. Hightower, 778 So.2d 381 (Fla. 4th D.C.A. 2001), the Fourth District Court of Appeal noted that the record in the case showed how devastating the loss of the decedent was to the surviving wife. The evidence showed that the wife and the decedent were married for 41 years and there was substantial evidence of the emotional loss and grief of the surviving spouse.

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