Wrongful Death Cases Involving Dependents
When it comes to wrongful death cases, insurers usually evaluate claims for both special damages and general damages (pain and suffering), depending on the appropriate statute. Florida has certain wrongful death statutes that govern who may make a claim for the wrongful death of another. Consult an Orange Park accident lawyer to determine whether you are entitled to make a wrongful death claim, and what type of damages you can recover.
If a claim is made by someone alleging to be a dependent of the person killed in an accident, the insurance company will evaluate several factors:
- Whether the dependent was partially or totally dependent
- How long the dependency would have lasted
- The closeness of the relationship between the claimant and the deceased
- Costs that would have incurred had the deceased lived, such as cost of food, clothing, and transportation
- The status of the claimant:
- Children: For surviving adult children, carriers usually make a combined offer to settle all claims. Adult children are usually less dependent on the deceased than minors, and the higher the dependency, the higher the evaluation. The age of the dependents will also be taken into account, as younger children would have had a much longer projected dependency than adult children. Some carriers will overlook heavy expenses that older teenagers would incur, such as transportation and clothing.
- Spouse: Surviving spouses often demand indemnity that is equal to what he or she would have needed for support and been accustomed to during the deceased’s lifetime. The spouse may also want to seek compensation for the loss of companionship.
- Parents: Claims by dependent parents are usually evaluated similarly as claims of other dependents, depending on their status of partial or full dependency. The claim is usually evaluated on the basis of the degree of association of the dependent, i.e., if the deceased child frequently visited the surviving parent, helped out around the house, and demonstrated a close relationship, that will be evaluated more highly than with an ignored parent who did not enjoy much contact with their adult child.
If you have questions about making a wrongful death claim as a dependent, contact an Orange Park accident lawyer. Call John Fagan at 904-278-1000.