Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Florida
A wrongful death suit is a type of lawsuit presented to a party believed to have caused a death due to their negligence or an intentional act. In the state of Florida, there are several types of accidents that can lead to wrongful death lawsuits.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?A wrongful death suit is a type of lawsuit presented to a party believed to have caused a death due to their negligence or an intentional act. In the state of Florida, there are several types of accidents that can lead to wrongful death lawsuits, some of the most common being: construction accidents, motorcycle accidents, car accidents, truck accidents, premises liability, medical malpractice, and slip and fall injuries. The Florida Wrongful Death Act creates a cause of action for wrongful death for certain parties that are designated as beneficiaries. The Act provides that when the death of a person is caused by a wrongful act of negligence, breach of contract or warranty, then the person that would have been liable if death had not followed will be responsible. In Florida, the purpose of the law is to allow survivors to recover for their losses in the event they lose a loved one.
Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim?A Survivor under Florida law may include the decedent’s spouse, minor children, parents, and, when dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relative or adoptive brothers and sisters, including the illegitimate child of a mother. However, a person claiming as a dependent who does not fall within one of the above categories does not count as a survivor. To qualify as a survivor, you must actually be dependent upon the decedent, either wholly or partially. Even a child born after the death of a parent is still considered a survivor under the Wrongful Death Act. But as stated above, adult children of the decedent are not survivors under the Florida Wrongful Death Act. Therefore, in a wrongful death action, the personal representative of a father’s estate is not entitled to make a claim for the loss of parental companionship on behalf of an adult child where the mother, injured in same accident but who died after the father, under the Wrongful Death was a surviving spouse. However, an adult decedent’s estate may recover lost net accumulations where the decedent is survived only by parents who were not dependent upon the decedent for support or services, and who are not otherwise entitled to recover damages for the decedent’s death in their own right. A requirement in the Wrongful Death Act that an adult decedent leave no survivors in order for the estate to recover net accumulations refers only to those survivors who are provided with a remedy elsewhere in the statute.
The Florida Wrongful Death Act allows the following relatives to file a wrongful death claim:
• Dependent blood relatives
• Dependent adoptive siblings
• Children born out of wedlock to a mother
• Children born out of wedlock to a father (if it can be shown that the father accepted
responsibility for the child)
If You File a Wrongful Death Claim, what kind of damages may I recover?• Funeral or burial arrangements
• Medical care and hospital expenses
• Loss of financial support and allowances
• Loss of companionship, training and guidance
• Pain and suffering of the family members
• Pain and suffering of the deceased