Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?
When a person dies or is killed due to the negligence of another in Florida, the surviving immediate family members may sue the liable party for wrongful death.
A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed if a person acts dangerously or with intent to kill or harm and an individual dies as a result of these actions. The death may be deemed wrongful and the responsible party or entity may be sued.
It is possible to hold the liable party accountable for actions that caused a death. If a party acts carelessly, recklessly, with an intentional or complete disregard for the safety and welfare of others, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed. Those who were dependent on, or a beneficiary of the one who died could be entitled to monetary damages.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
In Florida, immediate family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit and this includes children, step-children and adopted children, spouses and legal partners, siblings, grandparents, or other family members who relied upon the victim for support.
- Minor Children
- Legal Dependents
There are circumstances when multiple plaintiffs can be party to a wrongful death case. Being a party to a wrongful death lawsuit and being a beneficiary of an award is not the same thing. There is a statute of limitations to filing a wrongful death case.
What is a Wrongful Death Case?
Florida personal injury attorney Reed Bloodworth explains that wrongful death cases occur when someone has died as the result of a negligent act of another. There are various types of wrongful death lawsuits and cases are filed predominantly due to medical negligence, medical malpractice, dangerous driving, and defective products. The important thing to know about a wrongful death case is who can bring a wrongful death case?
Who Can Sue?
In Florida there are generally two categories of people who can bring a wrongful death case. The first category is the personal representative of the deceased person.
And the second category is the statutory survivors of the deceased person. Statutory survivors are described in Florida’s statutes which state that only a decedent’s spouse, or children under the age of 25 — in terms of children — can bring a lawsuit. The parents of a decedent can bring a wrongful death statute.
Or the other group that is sometimes missed includes people who were dependent upon the deceased person.
A dependent, which can be a child over the age of 25 years old, who is fully dependent upon the deceased person is able to bring a wrongful death suit. While there are various limits pertaining to age and dependents in wrongful death cases, these are issues that need to be discussed on a case-by-case basis.
Amounts Vary in Wrongful Death Cases
Doctor with 2 Children and Spouse
There is a great difference in the range of settlements and the financial amounts vary in wrongful death cases. for example, there’s a difference in the amount of money made by a doctor who’s made a good living who had 30 years of income in front of him, with a surviving spouse and two surviving children.
In a wrongful death case, wrongful death laws base payouts on potential earnings expected in a high revenue job, with surviving children who are under the age of 25 and with a surviving spouse.
Retired, 65, Grown Children
This can mean for example, a case involving someone who died in a wrongful death case who is over the age of 65 who has no spouse, or who has several children over the age of 25, but who was retired and living comfortably on savings and social security can vary from another person. This can be considered financially lower, or less viable.
And this is a difficult scenario for a family who lost a loved one in a surgery where the doctor was actually liable and responsible for the death of that person.
It’s the law, not the court or a jury. In any kind of negligence case where the person who died does NOT leave a spouse and children under the age of 25 dependent upon them and make a good living and with many years of income-producing or revenue-producing years ahead of them. These two scenarios are considered different because of the level of income the person was bringing in and the age of the decedents’ in the family left behind.
Every wrongful death case varies and you should talk with Florida wrongful death attorney Reed Bloodworth to clarify and explain what happened in your situation.