The tragic death of Harold Dayes highlights the inadequacy of Florida Workers Compensation Death Benefits when compared to Florida’s Wrongful Death Statute.
Harold Dayes was employed by a private security company. On the morning of April 8th 2017, Mr. Dayes was working as a security guard at Mohawk Industries in Pembroke Park, Florida. In the early morning hours Vincent Minott, pulled his truck out of a loading bay, thinking it had already been loaded. However Mr. Minott soon realized realized the trailer was empty, and he pulled back into the bay. As Mr. Minott backed up he struck and killed Harold Dayes.
As reported by Channel 10 news, Minott began backing up and did not see Dayes, who was in his direct path and appeared to be writing something down.
A witness told deputies that he yelled for Dayes to move, but that Dayes did not respond.
Deputies said Dayes was wearing an in-ear Bluetooth headset as paramedics were administering first aid to him.
Dayes was taken to Memorial Regional Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
This was a tragic event, and our condolences go out to Mr Dayes family.
Mr Dayes family is entitled to Workers compensation death benefits.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 440.16, death benefits are limited to $150,000.00, and are paid out in biweekly installments based upon a percentage of the deceased workers average weekly wage. The $150,000.00 limit is further evidence that the Workers compensation system needs a complete overhaul.
Payments are not made in a lump sum, but rather are paid as follows:
- To the spouse if there are no children. Payment is 50 percent of the deceased’s weekly wage.
- To the spouse if there is a dependent child or children. Payment is 50 percent of the deceased’s weekly wage plus 16 2/3 percent due to the children.
- To the child or children if there is no spouse. The benefit is 33.3 percent of the deceased’s weekly wages for each child until they are 18 years old (or 22 if in school full-time.) A child who cannot earn a living because of physical or mental disability would continue to receive payments until the $150,000 maximum is met.
- To the parents if they were dependents of the deceased. They each receive 25 percent of weekly wages as long as the dependency continues or until the maximum is met.
- To any brothers, sisters, and grandchildren who were dependent on the deceased. They would receive 15 percent each as long as they remain dependent or the maximum benefit is depleted.
The only difference between a high wage earner and a low wage earner is the amount of time it would take the insurance company to pay out the $150,000.00 limit. Likewise, there is no real distinction between a father that supports 3 young children or a father with no minor children.
Since Mr. Dayes was not employed by Mohawk industries, his family can pursue a Wrongful death Claim for the negligence of the truck driver.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 768.21, Mr. Dayes spouse and minor children can recover the following:
(1) Each survivor may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value. In evaluating loss of support and services, the survivor’s relationship to the decedent, the amount of the decedent’s probable net income available for distribution to the particular survivor, and the replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor may be considered. In computing the duration of future losses, the joint life expectancies of the survivor and the decedent and the period of minority, in the case of healthy minor children, may be considered.
(2) The surviving spouse may also recover for loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
(3) Minor children of the decedent, and all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
(6) The decedent’s personal representative may recover for the decedent’s estate the following:
(a) Loss of earnings of the deceased from the date of injury to the date of death, less lost support of survivors excluding contributions in kind, with interest. Loss of the 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:
There is no cap on Wrongful Death Damages.
We hope the Florida legislature will make the appropriate changes to our archaic Workers compensation laws.
Mark Kaire has been practicing law in Miami for nearly 30 years. He is dedicated to helping the injured people of Miami receive compensation. Mr. Kaire has been blogging on Miami’s legal issues for many years.