How much is an adult child’s claim may be worth if his or her parent is killed in an accident? Here, we’ll look at real cases where courts commented on the value of an adult child’s pain and suffering.
I’ll also talk about other types of compensation that an adult child may be able to get.
However, the focus will be on the pain and suffering component of the wrongful death claim. This is because the pain and suffering part of the claim is often the highest valued part of an adult child’s wrongful death claim.
In Florida, “adult children” are children who are 25 or older.
This article does NOT talk about settlements for “minor children” whose parent(s) was killed in an accident or incident. In Florida, for purposes of Florida’s wrongful death law, a “minor child” is under 25 years old.
I wrote a separate article on a parent’s claim if his/her adult child is killed in an accident.
However, this article is about wrongful death claims if you’re an adult child and your parent was killed in an accident.
In Florida, in certain accidents, an adult child can recover compensation for:
- Lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance
- Mental pain and suffering from the date of the decedent’s (parent) injury; and
- Value of lost support and services from the date of the injury to future.
The decedent is the person who dies.
However, there are exceptions to the rule that adult children can get money for pain and suffering. I’ll also discuss them here.
Here, I’ll talk about car and motorcycle accident settlements for adult children whose parent was killed. I’ll also talk about many other types of accident (and incidents) and much more.
Table of contents
- When Can’t an “Adult Child” Able to Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering From a Parent’s Death?
- When Can An Adult Child Get a Payout for Pain and Suffering From a Parent’s Death?
- What Types of Accidents Does Florida’s Wrongful Death Law Apply to?
- What’s the toughest part of your case if you’re an adult child and you’re parent was killed in an accident?
- How Much Is The Average Settlement for an Adult Child’s Pain and Suffering?
- Florida Wrongful Death law is Better for Adult Children (Than Many Other States’ Laws)
- What amount of money do Florida courts say is too much for an adult child to get for a parent’s death?
- Do “Adult Children” Get Less Money for Pain and Suffering than Spouses?
- Court OKs $6 Million Verdict for Pain and Suffering of 42 Year Old (Whose 58 Year Old Mom Died)
- $5 Million for An Adult Child is Too High Without Close or Supportive Relationship
- Large Pain and Suffering Amounts Allowed if Very Close Relationship Between Survivor and the Decedent
- News Stations Have Interviewed Me About Wrongful Death Cases (Adult Child’s Parent Killed)
- $7.2 Million for Pain & Suffering of Adult Child is Too High ($810,000 Is Not Too High)
- Court OKs $400K for loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance, and pain and suffering for each adult child
- Miami-Dade County Court Says $1 Million Dollars per Adult Child is Too Much
- General Verdict Range for Each Adult Child Pain and Suffering for Death of Parent
- Verdicts and Settlements for Adult Child Whose Parent Was Killed
- $527,750 Settlement for Each Adult Child (73 year-old Mother Was Killed)
- Drunk Driving Accident Death Cases Are Often Worth More
- $225k Settlement for Each Adult Child (for Each Parent Killed)
- More Wrongful Death Verdicts
- $100K for Pain and Suffering for each adult child (for the Death of their Mom)
- I want to represent you!
When Can’t an “Adult Child” Able to Get Compensation for Pain and Suffering From a Parent’s Death?
If a parent of an “adult child” dies and the parent is married at the time of the death, the adult child is not entitled to compensation for lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance. Likewise, the adult child can’t get a payout for mental pain and suffering.
However, the adult child may still be able to get compensation for lost support and services from the date of the injury to future. He or she may also get compensation for funeral expenses.
Additionally, the decedent’s estate always has a claim for loss of net accumulations.
When Can An Adult Child Get a Payout for Pain and Suffering From a Parent’s Death?
In Florida, if the parent was NOT married at the time of death, the adult child can get compensation for loss of parental companionship and mental pain and suffering for the death of a parent.
The adult child may still be able to get compensation for value of lost support and services from the date of the injury to future. They may also get compensation for funeral expenses.
However, adult children aren’t entitled to compensation for pain and suffering if the parent’s death was caused by medical malpractice. Unfortunately, in medical malpractice cases, this is true even if their parent died without a surviving spouse.
What Types of Accidents Does Florida’s Wrongful Death Law Apply to?
Let’s assume that an adult child is entitled to a pain and suffering payout for his or her parent’s death. What are the most common accidents where an adult child may get a pain and suffering settlement?
They may include accidents when a parent is killed while he or she is on a:
Other incidents could include a parent who is killed from:
- Being hit by a car while a pedestrian
- An accident on someone’s premises
- Being Electrocuted
- Getting murdered, shot or stabbed in a parking lot, mall, hotel or somewhere else
- A doctor or hospital’s mistake (medical malpractice) or error
- A Pharmacy giving the wrong medication or too high of a dose
What’s the toughest part of your case if you’re an adult child and you’re parent was killed in an accident?
The toughest part of your case if you’re parent was killed in an accident is that there is often no insurance coverage available.
In other words, the person who killed your parent is often uninsured or underinsured. This often happens in car accidents in Florida if the at fault driver or car owner does not have bodily injury liability insurance.
If the at fault driver or owner is uninsured or underinsured, the decedent’s uninsured motorist (UM) insurance on his/her car may pay for the adult children survivor’s mental pain and suffering. If the decedent did not own a car at the time of the accident, his or her resident relative’s UM coverage may pay for the adult children’s wrongful death claims.
If the decedent was in a car that he/she did not own at the time of the accident, the car’s uninsured motorist insurance coverage may pay for the adult children’s mental pain and suffering.
Unfortunately, one of the 3 top ways that adult children lose their wrongful death case is if there is no insurance coverage available. Check out my video that talks about this:
How Much Is The Average Settlement for an Adult Child’s Pain and Suffering?
In order to answer this question, we need to not just look at verdicts, but we must look at whether the verdict was allowed by the appeals court.
Thus, it isn’t smart to look at websites and blogs and assume that the adult child actually was paid the verdict amount.
This is because an appeals court may order the trial court to reduce the verdict. On the other hand, the appeals court can order a new trial on the amount of mental pain and suffering compensation.
Unfortunately, few Florida appeals courts have commented on the value of an adult child’s pain and suffering.
However, if you look at the verdicts that were either approved or reduced on appeal, you’ll see the average compensation. The average compensation that appeals courts approved was $605,000 per adult child. This is for the mental pain and suffering part of the adult child’s claim.
Funeral expenses, and lost of services and financial support are additional.
The highest verdict that a Florida appeals court has allowed for an adult child’s pain and suffering was $6 million. In that case, it was the Florida Supreme Court that said $6 million was OK. I’ll talk about that case in a moment.
Again, there have been few appellate decisions that talk about the value of an adult child’s pain and suffering.
The smallest verdict for an adult child’s pain and suffering that I’m aware of is $65,000. The jury actually awarded a lot more. However, the the appeals court ordered the trial court to reduce the verdict.
Also, in that case, there was limited evidence as to how the mother’s death affected this child. I’ll talk about that case in a moment.
Additionally, the personal representative’s attorney rejected the trial court’s reduction. The wrongful death attorney will be going to trial again. That assumes that the case doesn’t settle in the meantime.
Florida Wrongful Death law is Better for Adult Children (Than Many Other States’ Laws)
This article focuses on payouts for loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance as well as mental pain and suffering.
While any death of a parent is terrible, some positive news for adult children is that Florida is more generous to adult children than some other states. For example, some other states only allow an adult child to get compensated if the parent suffered from the time of the accident through when they died.
Fortunately, for adult children, Florida’s wrongful death law is much better.
Even if the parent died on impact, the adult child can still get compensation for pain and suffering.
When a case goes to trial, a jury determines the amount of mental pain and suffering each survivor should get. However, most wrongful death cases settle. They don’t go to trial.
Sometimes a jury will award an adult child more money if he or she lives in the same area as the decedent (the parent) and spend more time in person with the parent that dies. That is just one of the many factors to consider when estimating how much money a jury may give an adult child for the mental pain and suffering that follows from his or her parent’s death.
The verdicts below are not my cases. I invite you to check out my wrongful death settlements in Florida. I chose some settlements and verdicts to talk about below.
These are just a few of the many wrongful death settlement and verdicts in Florida for an adult child whose parent was killed in an accident. Many more settlements and verdicts exist in Florida for the wrongful death of the parent of an adult child.
What amount of money do Florida courts say is too much for an adult child to get for a parent’s death?
It will depend upon the facts of the case. A liable party’s insurer may claim that the decedent’s adult children should not get much money if the adult children:
- Are independent
- Have a strained relationship with their father at the time of his death.
A court may agree that certain amounts of money are excessive.
Do “Adult Children” Get Less Money for Pain and Suffering than Spouses?
Florida wrongful death law used to say that adult children are entitled to less money that spouses. However, it is no longer the law in Florida.
Court OKs $6 Million Verdict for Pain and Suffering of 42 Year Old (Whose 58 Year Old Mom Died)
This isn’t my case. Gwendolyn Odom sued R.J. Reynolds. Odom claimed that her mother, Juanita Thurston, died from lung cancer caused by her addiction to cigarettes manufactured by R.J. Reynolds.
Thurston was fifty-eight years old when she died. Thurston was never married. Odom, who was forty-two years old when Thurston died.
Odom sued for non-economic damages as Thurston’s surviving daughter under Florida’s wrongful death statute.
Non-economic damages are loss of parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, and also mental pain and suffering. Odom sued for these damages from the date Thurston was originally diagnosed until her death approximately three years later.
In this case, the jury was presented with extensive and undisputed evidence of the “very close and unique relationship” that Odom and Thurston shared. The jury also heard the effect Thurston’s years-long suffering and eventual death had on Odom.
Odom supported Thurston every step of the way.
Decedent Would’ve Lived 24.5 More Years (Daughter Got $245K Per Year in Pain and Suffering)
Again Thurston was age fifty-eight when she died. Thus, Thurston had a life expectancy of an additional 24.5 years. In other words, she was expected to live another 24.5 had she not died from lung cancer.
As in all wrongful death cases, the decedent’s age impacts the settlement amount.
Odom asked the jury to award $5 million for her pain and suffering. The defendant, R.J. Reynolds chose not to suggest a specific amount or even a range to the jury. Instead, R.J. Reynolds left the question of how much to award to the “good judgment and common sense” of the jury.
Reynolds asked the jury whether they wanted to make Odom a “very wealthy person at this stage of her life.”
The jury’s awarded $6 million for Odom’s pain and suffering. Thereafter, R.J. Reynolds argued that an award in “the $400,000 to $500,000 range” was proper.
It is difficult for a party to challenge an award as excessive after the fact when that party declined to offer any guidance to the jury at trial. See Hawk v. Seaboard Sys. R.R., Inc., 547 So. 2d 669, 674 (Fla. 2d DCA 1989) (Altenbernd, J., concurring)
“When the defendant does not assist the jury in establishing it is more difficult for the defendant to later suggest that a verdict below the plaintiffs’ request is somehow a verdict which exceeds the maximum limit of the reasonable range in which the jury was free to operate.”).
R.J. Reynolds’ argument was based on two other past Florida wrongful death cases. Those cases are Webb and Putney. However, the trial court carefully compared the facts of those cases with Odom’s case. That court determined that the cases were “simply different.”
In making this determination, the trial court detailed the undisputed evidence of Odom and Thurston’s relationship. It also detailed how Thurston’s cancer and death affected Odom.
Further, the Florida Supreme Court said that the an adult child may be entitled to a multimillion dollar pain and suffering award. Even if the relationship is between a financially independent adult child, and her deceased mother.
Past cases clearly allow for a multimillion dollar pain and suffering verdict where the award is supported by the evidence.
What was the result for Odom?
On September 20, 2018, the Florida Supreme Court approved Odom’s $6 million verdict for her pain and suffering. Importantly, the court also disapproved of the Webb and Putney cases that limited pain and suffering.
This is a big win for Odom. The case is No. SC17-563.
$5 Million for An Adult Child is Too High Without Close or Supportive Relationship
Important Note: This case has been overruled by Florida Supreme Court. Therefore, take this case with a grain of salt.
Sharon’s mother, Margot, died of lung cancer from smoking. Sharon was appointed personal representative of her mother’s estate.
She sued for the estate and the 3 surviving adult children. Margot was on the adult children.
In Philip Morris USA, Inc. v. Putney, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 4th Dist. (August 2016), the appeals court said that the jury verdict of $5 Million for the pain and suffering of each of 3 adult surviving children of the decedent was too high.
The appeals court said that Margot’s adult children may be entitled to a consortium award. However, it said that $5 million in pain and suffering is too high and shocking compared to those in similar cases.
The good news?
The court did say that $5 million for each adult child’s pain and suffering is too high without evidence of the type of close or supportive relationship that would justify such an award.
Thus, $5 million per adult child in pain and suffering could be OK if the adult child has a close or supportive relationship with the parent who died.
It ordered the trial court to reduce the verdict. The trial judge reduced it. In his order, Judge John Murphy III said there was:
limited evidence presented by the personal representative as to how the mother’s illness and subsequent death affected her adult children.
The trial court reduced the pain and suffering award for each adult child to:
- $85,000 for Sharon
- $75,000 to Guy
- $65,000 to Glenn
However, the personal representative’s attorney rejected this reduction. The case is now set for a trial for the period of April 4th, 2018 through June 29th, 2018.
All of the decedent’s children were adults at the time of her diagnosis and death, and none of them testified that they lived with her or relied on her for support.
Large Pain and Suffering Amounts Allowed if Very Close Relationship Between Survivor and the Decedent
Appellate courts that have allowed large pain and suffering awards involve much closer relationships between the parties and the decedents during the decedent’s illness.
(For example, in R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Townsend, 90 So. 3d 307 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012), the court allowed a $10.8 million compensatory (pain and suffering) verdict to the wife of the deceased smoker. They had been married for 39 years.
The wife had to stay in Florida while the husband traveled to Chicago for treatment in order to support the family and then had to personally care for him “as he lay dying during the final six months.” The husband was diagnosed just as the wife was about to retire, so they could not “realize their life-long dream of traveling together.” )
In the Putney case, one of Margot’s sons testified how he visited his mother as often as he could once he heard of her lung cancer diagnosis, but it was difficult to do because he had his own family.
He further testified that his mother never forgot birthdays and she gave all three of her children a goodbye letter on her last birthday.
Another of Margot’s sons testified that his mother’s diagnosis had an emotional impact on him, and he would visit or call every day.
Not surprisingly, he misses his mother most on special occasions, such as holidays and birthdays. Margot’s daughter testified that when she learned of her mother’s diagnosis, she was too emotional to talk about it.
She accompanied her mother to chemotherapy treatments, which “killed” her on the inside, because it made her think about losing her mother.
She told the jury how her mother was so ill on the Plaintiff’s birthday that her mother could not say “happy birthday,” and she went into a coma soon after, dying nine days later. Her boyfriend testified as to how upset she had been since her mother’s death and how it devastated her.
Need a Close or Supportive Relationship to Justify $5 Million for Pain and Suffering
The appeals court said that the above testimony may establish that Margot’s adult children are entitled to a consortium award.
It also said the loss of consortium awards were excessive compared to those in similar cases and shock the judicial conscience because there was not evidence of the type of close or supportive relationship that would justify such an award.
News Stations Have Interviewed Me About Wrongful Death Cases (Adult Child’s Parent Killed)
On August 14, 2018, NBC6 interviewed me about the FIU bridge collapse wrongful death lawsuits.
$7.2 Million for Pain & Suffering of Adult Child is Too High ($810,000 Is Not Too High)
Important Note: This case has been overruled by Florida Supreme Court. Therefore, take this case with a grain of salt.
In R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Webb, 93 So. 3d 331, 337 (Fla. 1st DCA 2012), the appeals court said an $7.2 million award to an adult surviving child of a cigarette smoker was excessive as compared to other awards.
James Horner died of lung cancer from cigarette smoking. He was survived by his daughter, Ms. Webb, who was 54 years old when her father died at the age of 78.
Ms. Webb was appointed personal representative of her father’s estate. She sued the cigarette company for her father’s wrongful death.
Ms. Webb was not wholly dependent on his companionship, instruction and guidance at that time. She was married, with two adult children and grandchildren, as well.
The case went to trial a second time and the jury awarded $810,000 in pain and suffering damages to the adult surviving child. The jury also awarded $450,000 in punitive damages. The total verdict was for $1,260,000. R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. v. Webb, Fla: Dist. Court of Appeals, 1st Dist. November 2016.
The tobacco company didn’t argue that the $810,000 verdict for pain and suffering was too high.
In most wrongful death cases, punitive damages aren’t allowed.
Court OKs $400K for loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance, and pain and suffering for each adult child
This isn’t my case. In March, 1993, an Amtrak train collided with a gasoline truck at the railroad crossing at Cypress Creek Road (Cypress Creek accident).
Six people were killed when flames engulfed vehicles waiting at the crossing. The trial took place nine months later.
This verdict is for the adult children of one of the people who was killed in the accident.
An appeals court approved a $2,842,500 verdict for 6 adult children and 1 stepchild for the death of their father. Each surviving adult child, including the stepchild, was awarded $400,000 for the loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance, and for mental pain and suffering as a result of their father’s injury and death.
The award to each child included $200,000 in past mental pain and suffering and $200,000 in future mental pain and suffering.
The ages of 5 of the adult children were 24, 39, 33, 34, and 42.
The bad news?
The court noted that this was “indeed a generous award” that “raises a judicial eyebrow.” An insurance company may use this case against you to justify a lower settlement offer.
I don’t know the ages of the other two adult children. The case is National R.R. Passenger Corp. (Amtrak) v. Ahmed, 653 So.2d 1055 (Fla.App. 4 Dist., 1995).
Miami-Dade County Court Says $1 Million Dollars per Adult Child is Too Much
Important Note: This case has been overruled by Florida Supreme Court. Therefore, take this case with a grain of salt.
This isn’t my case. In a wrongful death case, a jury awarding one-million dollars to each of the decedent’s (Suarez) four adult children. At the time of Suarez’s death, none of his children were residing with him.
Nor were any of them financially dependent upon him for support. The sole element of damages was the children’s grief and loss of instruction.
The undisputed evidence at trial, however, indicated that the children’s relationship with their father had deteriorated somewhat because of his relationship with his girlfriend.
All of the children admitted that their visits and relationships with their father had diminished considerably with the onset of his relationship with his girlfriend.
Given this evidence, the appeals court said that the one-million dollars awarded to each of Suarez’s adult children could only have been “a product of passions and emotions,” rather than a result of the evidence presented. The case is MBL Life Assurance Corp. v. Suarez, 768 So.2d 1129 (Fla. 3d DCA 2000).
The appeals court went on to give other reasons why even $400,000 per adult child in this case was too high. Those reasons are:
The evidence in this case of the children’s loss was strongly contested, there was no evidence presented that showed that these children were suffering from adjustment disorders or depression. Finally, their father did not suffer, in front of his family, in the time before his death.
I can’t find the trial court case when I searched online using any of the parties names. The trial court case number is 96-20592.
General Verdict Range for Each Adult Child Pain and Suffering for Death of Parent
Is there is a range of money that juries and courts have awarded for an adult child’s pain and suffering when one parent is killed?
Yes. The range is between $65,000 and $6 million. I know. It’s a huge range.
The average of all the awards — that are listed below — for the death of one parent of an adult child is $428,125. This means that if you were to average the settlement/verdicts below, each adult child was basically awarded $428,125 for the death of one parent.
This is in line with the fact that I say that $500,000 is good starting point when calculating the value of the death of a family member. As with any personal injury or wrongful death case, settlement value can either increase or decrease. It all depends on the many factors that affect the value of a case.
Regardless of the size of a verdict, if the defendant (person or company that caused the wrongful death) does not have the money to pay it, then the verdict is almost worthless. Therefore, there is no guarantee that you will get money if your parent dies in an accident.
The settlements and verdicts below aren’t mine unless I say that they are.
As you will see below, the amounts that were awarded to one adult child for the death of one parent are as follows: $1,000,000, $1,000,000, $527,750, 400,000, $300,000, $225,000, $200,000, $150,000, and $150,000.
I’ll go into further detail on this below.
In any case, in order to come up with the settlement value of an injury or death, you should look at recent jury verdicts and settlements to see the recent trend.
Both plaintiffs’ attorneys (representing the injured) and liability insurance adjusters or defense attorneys (representing the insurance companies who insure the person or company that caused the accident) should look up jury verdicts.
When trying to come up with the settlement value of the death of one parent of an adult child, you should not include the “extreme” verdicts that don’t represent the most common result in a wrongful death case.
When I use the word “extreme”, I am referring to the verdicts that are not typical. Using the numbers above, the more extreme results are the two cases that awarded $1,000,000 to each adult child and the two cases that settled for $150,000. If you take out these 4 cases, then the average of the 4 awards for an adult child’s pain and suffering for the death of the parent is $225,000.
I am about to get to the verdicts. But right before I do, there is one other important thing (of the many important things) to note that I will share here. You should look at recent appeals court decisions so that you can know the likelihood of whether a verdict in the trial court will be upheld (approved).
For example, let’s say an adult child got a $10,000,000 verdict in a trial court for his or her loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance and mental pain and suffering from his or her parent’s death.
The appeals court will not allow this verdict to stand because $10,000,000 for loss of parental companionship and mental pain and suffering is too much for one adult to get. The one exception would be if the adult child lived with and was dependent on the decedent.
The appellate courts think that number $10,000,000 is excessive.
The current trend in appellate courts in South Florida (Miami-Dade and Broward County) seems to be becoming more conservative and reversing (rejecting) verdicts in personal injury cases as being too high.
Verdicts and Settlements for Adult Child Whose Parent Was Killed
$1,000,000 (not my case) awarded for the pain and suffering for each adult child. There were 4 adult children whose father was killed. The ages of the children were between 43 and 64-years-old.
So assuming each child received the same amount for mental pain and suffering for the loss of his or her father, each child received about $1,000,000. The total verdict, in 1998, was 4,010,000 and there were 4 children.
$1,000,000 (not my case) for mental pain and suffering for each adult child for the death of their 67-year-old mother. There were for 3 children (all over age 40).
I assume that each child received an equal amount for mental pain and suffering for the death of their mother. The total verdict, in 2002, was $3,081,000.
$527,750 Settlement for Each Adult Child (73 year-old Mother Was Killed)
This isn’t my case. On May 12, 2011, Guadalupe Carrizales was crossing Judge Winikoff Road near State Road 7 west of Boca Raton, Palm Beach County, Florida. She was taking a morning walk.
A 19 year-old drunk driver struck her.
He allegedly left the accident scene without helping the pedestrian. The pedestrian died. She was survived by four (4) adult children.
GEICO insured the driver.
On May 27, the pedestrian’s son, Manuel, as personal representative of the estate, sued the driver and the owner of the car.
Claims were also made against the owner of the car, David Hanzelik, since he owned the car that the Falzini was driving. In Florida, the a car owner is responsible up to $100,000 (in most cases) for injury for the at-fault driver’s carelessness.
In addition, he sued the owner under the theory that he shouldn’t have let Falzini drive, since he was allegedly drunk.
The adult children claimed that the defendant driver was driving fast and hit their mother. She was allegedly struck by the speeding Infiniti G35 car with such force that she was dismembered.
The driver allegedly left the scene.
The driver was allegedly found at his home, which was many miles from where the accident happened.
The personal representative (PR) claimed that there was proof that the owner of the car was with the driver before the crash and the owner knew that the driver was drunk before he gave him permission to driver his car.
Toxicology reports allegedly showed that the driver’s blood alcohol level was above the legal amount.
Allstate initially denied coverage on the umbrella policy. That means that they didn’t offer any money from the umbrella coverage.
However, Allstate and GEICO paid the full amount of the policies to settle.
The total settlement against the driver and the car owner was for $2,110,000.
Every wrongful death accident is tragic. No amount of money will compensate the adult children for the loss of their mother. However, the adult children were fortunate that the car owner had a big insurance policy. Most individuals in Florida do not carry anywhere close to $2.1 million in liability coverage.
On August 5, 2011, the adult children settled with the driver (who caused the accident). The settlement with the car owner was around that time. Allstate and GEICO allegedly paid on the day the settlement was reached.
They settled before trial. The personal representative continued the lawsuit against the hotel and bar for allegedly serving the minor driver.
I am not sure how much the pedestrian’s medical bills were. I assume that the medical bills were small. This is because the mother died at the accident scene.
The case is Manuel Carrizales, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Guadalupe Carrizales v Ronald Falzini and David Hanzelik, 2K Clevelander d/b/a The Clevelander, and Miller’s Alehouse, Inc. d/b/a Boca Alehouse. Case No. 502011 CA 007910 XXXXMB.
Drunk Driving Accident Death Cases Are Often Worth More
Cases where a drunk driver causes an accident are generally worth more than if the driver was sober (not drunk) and just careless.
This is because the adult children can sue the drunk driver for punitive damages. Punitive damages are in addition to compensation for medical bills, and pain and suffering.
I do not know whether the woman was crossing the street in a crosswalk. If the pedestrian was in a crosswalk, then the pedestrian would likely not be at fault.
On the other hand, assume that if the pedestrian was crossing the road but wasn’t at a crosswalk. In this case, she would probably be partially at fault.
If she was partially at fault, the insurance company for the owner of the car and drunk driver would reduce the value of the claim. They would reduce it by the pedestrian’s percentage of fault.
This verdict shows that an insurance companies may pay $527,750 or more for an adult child’s claim for mental pain and suffering. An adult child’s pain and suffering claim can result in a big settlement for a pedestrian who is hit by a car.
$225k Settlement for Each Adult Child (for Each Parent Killed)
This is not my case. The 5 adult children ranged in ages from 37 to 50 –years old. Both parents were killed in an incident.
Each child roughly received $225,000 for the death of each parent. So each child received about $550,000 for the death of both parents.
More Wrongful Death Verdicts
$2,842,500.00 verdict (not my case) in 1994 for the wrongful death of a 59-year-old man who was survived by 7 adult children. Each adult child got roughly $400,000 in mental pain and suffering. To get that figure, I just divided the total verdict by 7.
$2,000,000 Settlement (not my case) against an uninsured motorist insurance company for 3 adult children whose parents were killed in a motor vehicle accident. Each child was basically awarded $300,000 for the death of each parent.
I arrived at this amount by dividing the total settlement ($2,000,000) by the number of adult children (3) and then by the number of parents who were killed (2). So each child received $600,000.
$1,611,375.00 (not my case) for 8 adult children whose 83-year-old mother was killed. The adult children were between 43 and 64-years-old. Assuming each child got the same amount for mental pain and suffering for the loss of his or her mother, each child received about $200,000.
$615,000 verdict (not my case) in 1999 for 4 adult women whose mother was killed in an auto accident. The lawsuit was against the uninsured motorist insurance company St. Paul Insurance Company. Each child received about $150,000 in mental pain and suffering.
$306,310 verdict (not my case) for 2 adult children (approximately 40 or so years old) for the wrongful death of their parent. Each child roughly was awarded $150,000.
This verdict, in 1997, was against Travelers Insurance Company. Thus, I am assuming that it is an uninsured motorist insurance case.
I make this assumption because in a bodily injury case you sue the person individually (or company) that caused the accident, and you cannot sue his or her insurance company. The rule of thumb is that, all other things being equal, an uninsured motorist case is worth than a bodily injury case (against a person or company that caused the crash).
This is because juries are may award more money when they know that an insurance company will be paying the award instead of a person.
The jury may have more sympathy for grandma Sara instead of big State Farm Auto insurance.
$100K for Pain and Suffering for each adult child (for the Death of their Mom)
This isn’t my case. Their mom was a resident of St. Joseph’s ALC (Vista LLC) in Palm Beach County, Florida.
I assume that the children were all 25 or older.
The children claimed inadequate care in this nursing home wrongful death lawsuit. The adult daughter and claimed that her mother fell on a walkway with bumps and she died from her injuries.
She claimed that the assisted living facility – where her mother was living – knew or should have known the her mother was a high fall risk because she had several problems such as dementia, prior history of falls, balance issues, a limp, and she was overweight.
The assisted living facility claimed that it was not at fault. There were 5 adult children and the total verdict was for $500,000 and all of it was apparently for pain and suffering of the adult children.
The verdict was on January 2013. The case is Van Kirk v. Vista, LLC d/b/a St. Josephs’s ALC.
My thoughts: I would like to know how much of this verdict the adult children were able to collect. I say that because in many assisted living facility (ALF) cases the ALF has little insurance and a wasting limits policy.
The amount that each adult child was awarded for the pain and suffering from the death of their mother in this verdict against this assisted living facility is at the low end of the settlement range for cases in Florida where the decedent is survived by adult children.
If the decedent were married at the time of her death, the adult children would not have a wrongful death case because they are 25 or older. The husband would have a wrongful death case. Apparently the jury did not find the mother at fault for the accident.
Even if she was at fault, in Florida should still be able to have a case if she could show the ALF was at-fault.
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