Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?
Personal injury lawsuits arise out of pain — you or a loved one has been injured, and you’re seeking to recoup some of that financial and mental suffering you’ve dealt with as a result.
Whether it’s a slip and fall injury, catastrophic brain injury, medical malpractice, dog bite, burn or whatever else, personal injury claims are one way to get your life back in order in the wake of a potentially life-changing injury.
Wrongful death lawsuits are the worst case scenario. If you’ve lost a spouse, child or loved one from an accident, you may be eligible to recover some damages, including funeral bills, pain and suffering and more.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act
In Florida, the Wrongful Death Act (768.16) governs these types of cases. To make a wrongful death case, you and your attorney have to establish the following elements:
- Conduct that amounts to a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty was present;
- The conduct upon which the lawsuit is based must have caused the death of the decedent; and
- The conduct that is the basis of the lawsuit would have entitled the person injured to file a lawsuit and recover damages if they had not died.
Essentially, you have to prove that your family member or loved one was killed as a result of a negligent act and that that act was the reason your loved one died. For example, if your brother was hit by a car but was then shot on the street the next day, you could not file a wrongful death suit against the driver. Finally, the negligent conduct must have also been sufficient to have constituted a personal injury lawsuit if the loved one had not died.
Who is eligible to file suit?
A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed by a representative on behalf of the survivors of the decedent. Those who are eligible to file such a claim varies from state to state. In Florida, individuals with the ability to do so include:
- Blood relatives or adopted siblings; and
- Children born out of wedlock (in some circumstances).
Who can be sued for a wrongful death?
Wrongful death lawsuits can be levied against a wide variety of individuals and entities. For example, if your father died as a result of a drunk driver, a wrongful death lawsuit might name the following as the defendants:
- The driver;
- The driver’s employer if he or she was on duty while driving;
- The manufacturer or distributor of a faulty part of the car;
- The person who sold and/or gave the alcohol to the driver; and/or
- The owner of the establishment where the alcohol was served.
Types of Damages Arising from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The types of damages that a plaintiff can receive as a result of a wrongful death lawsuit fall into three categories: economic, non-economic and punitive.
Examples of economic damages include medical and funeral expenses, loss of the victim’s earnings, and loss of the victim’s benefits.
Examples of non-economic damages include mental anguish and suffering for those in the family, loss of love and companionship and loss of care and guidance.
Punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff(s) in the case of extremely egregious conduct by the defendant.
Considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit?
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, contact the lawyers at Boone & Davis in Broward County today. We have the years of experience to help you recover some justice for your lost loved one.