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How do you calculate economic damages in a Florida wrongful death case due to Medical Malpractice?

Fort Myers, FL |

In the state of Florida, how do you calculate the economic damages available to the adult non-dependent childeren (over age 50) of an elderly parent whose wrongful death was due to medical malpractice? Specifically, can you include lost pension and social security earnings in the calculation, and do you subtract from these projections living expenses?

Thanks. I am referring to the estate collecting damages which in turn would be distributed to the heirs. I know that Florida law is not mal-practice friendly to adult children of elderly parents. There are no dependency issues here. I'm simply trying to find out if my mothers pension and her social security earnings are considered lost prospective net accumulations to the estate? And if so, do you subtract living expenses from these earnings projections?

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Attorney answers 3


Generally, an adult, non-dependent child over the age of 50 cannot recover economic damages for an elderly parent unless there are specific issues regarding the dependency and/or income of the deceased. Were you living with your parent? Was your parent's income (pension or social security) paying your mortgage? food? medical care? If your answer is no to all of these, then, I do not think you have a claim at all. Now, the estate will have a claim, and you may be the beneficiary of the estate--but those are not economic damages.


Just building on what counsel in the previous answer stated, the circumstances are determinative of what can be recovered under the wrongful death statute and medical malpractice statute. It does become complicated where the children of the decedent are over the age of 25 and there is no surviving spouse.

Some compensation which may be available, depending on the facts:

-- Loss of earnings of the decedent from the date of injury to the date of death, less lost support of the survivors excluding contributions in kind, with interest.
-- Loss of prospective net accumulations of an estate, which might reasonably have been expected but for the wrongful death, reduced to present money value, may also be recovered under certain factual scenarios.
-- Generally, adult children CANNOT recover lost parental companionship in medical malpractice claims.
-- Medical or funeral expenses due to decedent’s injury or death that have become a charge against decedent’s estate or that were paid by or on behalf of decedent, excluding amounts recoverable by a survivor who has paid those expenses

You need to consult an attorney if you are planning to move forward on a wrongful death claim. There are strict time limits for wrongful death claims in Florida, so you should obtain medical records to speed up the process and consult an attorney as soon as possible.

Disclaimer: legal information is not the same as legal advice -- the application of law to an individual's specific circumstances. Although we go to great lengths to make sure our information is accurate and useful, we recommend you consult a lawyer if you want professional assurance that this information, and your interpretation of it, is appropriate to your particular situation. This information is not intended as legal advice for an individual situation, it is only provided as information.


You need to argue that those be considered in determining net accumulations. See the statutory definition: "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.
Among other things, the defense will fight you by trying to shorten the life expectancy and by claiming that none of the monies received were being saved (i.e. accumulating).

Dennis Phillips, Esq.

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