The untimely loss of a loved one can cause a family to suffer tremendous pain, torment, and grief. To lose someone you love is one of the worst things that can happen in a person’s lifetime. It’s especially painful when a negligent, careless, or reckless person takes your loved one from you. Your loved one’s untimely death causes you to experience an unbearable pain that most people can’t even begin to imagine, and it makes you feel helpless. However, there is a way for you and your family to get justice.
Although we can’t physically punish the person who killed your loved one or throw that person in jail, we can file a wrongful death suit against that person in Florida. A successful wrongful death claim can get you and your family compensation for the loss of your loved one. Additionally, a Florida wrongful death claim is not only helpful to you and your family, but it can also deter negligent individuals and companies from killing other innocent people. However, under Florida law only certain people are eligible to bring a wrongful death suit in Florida, and that's what this article is about.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death in Florida?
According to Florida Statute 768.19, a “wrongful death” is defined as “the death of a person” that is caused by the “wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person” such that the event that killed the deceased person would have entitled that person to bring an action to recover damages if he or she had not died. In other words, under Florida law, a wrongful death is where a person dies as a result of another person’s negligence, carelessness, recklessness, or intentional act. Compare this with a personal injury in Florida, where a person suffers non-fatal injuries as a result of another person’s negligence, carelessness, recklessness, or intentional act.
What is a Wrongful Death Suit in Florida?
In Florida, a wrongful death claim could arise whenever a person dies due to the negligent, careless, reckless, or intentional acts of a business, company, or another person. Therefore, a Florida wrongful death suit is essentially a personal injury suit that results in a death. Because the person who died as a result of negligence (the decedent) is unable to file a wrongful death suit and recover damages, Florida law allows the decedent’s survivors to sue the negligent person or business on behalf of the decedent. As a result of the Florida wrongful death suit, the survivors may seek compensation for their losses that resulted from their loved one’s death.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Florida?
Florida Statute 768.20 specifically sets out who may file a wrongful death suit in Florida. Under Florida law, a suit for wrongful death must be brought by the decedent’s personal representative. Furthermore, the money recovered as a result of the Florida wrongful death suit is recovered for the benefit of the decedent’s survivors and for the benefit of the decedent’s estate. To ensure proper distribution of the recovery from the wrongful death suit, the personal representative must list every one of the decedent’s survivors who may have an interest in the outcome of the wrongful death lawsuit. Any money paid into the decedent’s estate from the resolution of the wrongful death suit would then be distributed pursuant to the inheritance laws of Florida.
Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?
Under Florida law, only certain people may recover damages from a wrongful death suit in Florida. Specifically, Florida Statute 768.21 provides that recovery for wrongful death is limited to the people and relatives listed below.
Surviving Spouse of the Deceased
Under Florida law, a surviving spouse may recover for the loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection. The surviving spouse may also recover for the mental pain and suffering the spouse experienced from the date the decedent was injured.
Children of the Deceased
Minor children of the decedent may recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance, as well as for mental pain and suffering from the date of the decedent’s injury. Florida law also permits adult children to recover the same damages from a wrongful death suit but only if the decedent did not leave behind a surviving spouse.
Parents of the Deceased
If the deceased was a minor child, each parent of the deceased minor child may recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of the decedent’s injury. Each parent of a deceased adult child may also recover for mental pain and suffering but only if the deceased left behind no surviving spouse or children.
Our Florida Wrongful Death Law Firm Offers FREE Consultations
If you have lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, I’m so sorry for your loss. You should never have to go through that. It’s unfair, and it’s unjust. It should never have happened.
If there’s anything we can do to help, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our law firm. We offer free legal consultations with a Florida wrongful death attorney. During your legal consultation, we can learn more about what happened to you and your loved one, and we can help you to better understand your options and next steps moving forward. When you schedule a consultation at our firm, you’re going to speak to a lawyer, not some customer service rep or intake person in a call center.
Please know that we are here for you. Our door is open to discuss any legal questions or needs you may have in regard to filing a wrongful death suit in Florida, as well as in South Carolina or North Carolina.
We offer a free, no-obligation consultation for relatives and families of victims in Florida, South Carolina, and North Carolina. Don’t hesitate to contact a wrongful death attorney at our office by calling (321) 352-7588 or filling out a form on our website to schedule an appointment at your convenience. We're here when you need us.