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Understanding 'special damages' for wrongful death claims

Losing a loved one in an accident can be devastating. Friends and family members can struggle enormously to deal with the overwhelming grief, anger, confusion and sadness that can often be consuming in these situations.

The last thing on the minds of people in who are trying to cope with a loss may be money. However, the fact is that a loss suffered as a result of negligence can be financially devastating on a victim's family. While there is no way to put an actual price on someone's life, there are ways to calculate different types of damages resulting from a wrongful death. 

For example, people who file a wrongful death claim in Florida will be able to submit the amount of "special damages" with their claims. Special damages include out-of-pocket expenses that people paid as a direct result of a wrongful death. This could include:

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral expenses
  • Property replacement or repair
  • Lost wages

Essentially, these are financial obligations that can actually be calculated and have been suffered directly as a result of someone's negligence.

According to Florida wrongful death statutes, special damages are to be filed with a wrongful death claim. Other damages, including general damages and punitive damages, can be much more difficult to calculate and will not be stated in an initial complaint. They will be determined by the courts after liability has been legally established.

It can seem impossible to try and put a dollar amount on the damages that have been suffered after the loss of a loved one. However, with legal support and guidance, surviving family members can work to pursue an amount that reflects the physical, emotional and financial damages associated with a loss.

Wrongful death claims won't replace a loved one or undo a fatal accident, but they can be incredibly important to the people who have had to deal with unexpected financial losses and economic hardship as a result of a fatality. Recovering compensation can provide critical support to people who are struggling to cope with a loss and trying to move forward.

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