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Surviving Spouses and Wrongful Death Lawsuits


Venus Williams is being sued by the widow of a man who died two weeks after a June 9 car accident allegedly caused by the tennis star. The accident took place in Palm Beach Gardens when the car carrying 78-year-old Jerome Barson and his 68-year-old wife Linda crashed into the side of Williams’ SUV.

Linda Barson, who was driving the couple’s Hyundai Accent, claims that Williams was driving negligently. Police initially thought that Williams ran a red light, but surveillance video showed that she entered the intersection lawfully. Now Williams is arguing that Jerome Barson wasn’t wearing a seatbelt and that the couple’s car was not adequately maintained. Police say they haven’t yet determined who was at fault for the accident.

Florida’s Comparative Negligence Standard

Florida operates under a comparative negligence standard, which means that you can only recover damages to the extent that you didn’t contribute to the accident. For example, if a jury determined that Venue Williams was 60 percent at fault for the accident and Linda Barson was 40 percent at fault, then Linda may recover 60 percent of her damages.

A Surviving Spouse

Linda Barson’s wrongful death lawsuit also alleges that she suffered “severe traumatic injuries” from the crash. Williams argues that a surviving spouse may not recover damages for personal injuries.

This is what Florida law says about survivors (including spouses, children and parents of minor children) and wrongful death compensation:

  • Surviving spouses are entitled to lost support and future loss of support. This means that a surviving spouse who depended on a deceased husband or wife’s income may recover the value of that support. Several factors are considered in making that value determination, including the replacement value of the decedent’s services and the joint life expectancies of the survivor and the decedent.
  • A surviving spouse may also recover for the loss the decedent’s companionship and for mental pain and suffering caused by the accident.
  • Minor children (and all children is there is no surviving spouse) may also recover for lost companionship and mental pain and suffering.
  • Parents of a deceased minor child may also recover for mental pain and suffering. If there are no other survivors in the event of an adult child’s death, his or her parents may recover for mental pain and suffering.

Additionally, if a survivor paid for the decedent’s medical or funeral expenses then he or she may recover those damages as well. 

Contact Us Today

All car accident victims are entitled to compensation — if not more than 50 percent at fault — even if the other driver is a celebrity or well-known public figure.

If you are injured in a car accident, or if a loved one is killed, contact a Fort Lauderdale personal injury attorney at The Pendas Law Firm today for a free consultation. We will help you recover the compensation that you deserve, including medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

The Pendas Law Firm also represents clients in the West Palm Beach, Orlando, Fort Myers, Miami, Jacksonville, Tampa, Daytona Beach and Bradenton areas.


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