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Wrongful death punitive damages for special populations

On Behalf of | May 10, 2023 | Blog, Wrongful Death

Families in Florida can file wrongful death suits in civil court if someone else is liable for a person’s death. In the case of an adult, the judge or jury usually considers the person’s income and life expectancy. Still, these cases can become much trickier for courts to decide punitive damages after the death of children, people with special needs and older adults.


The child’s age often significantly affects the amount of punitive damages that the court will award when a child dies. Usually, they will give loved ones more if the child is older and has good grades. Loved ones often get very little in the case of younger children because they do not contribute to their family’s financial stability.

Vulnerable Seniors

The court system often orders someone guilty of killing a senior to pay little. This is because they are usually done earning money during their lifetime. Furthermore, they typically do not have children depending on them for their care.

Adult With Special Needs

Courts often look at an adult’s life expectancy and earning potential when determining how much money the person guilty of wrongful death must pay out. Since the person with special needs may have a lower wage-earning capacity, these settlements are often for less money. Furthermore, the court may consider how long the person with special needs may have lived if the wrongful death did not occur.

Wrongful death lawsuits are usually filed by family members who have lost a loved one through someone else’s actions or inactions. Courts often consider the person’s earning capabilities if they are an adult, or about to become an adult, as the family will need to replace their income.