If a person dies due to a wrongful act in the State of Florida caused by negligence, breach of contract or default, the deceased person’s estate may file a civil suit for legal remedy for the death and losses related to it. The personal representative of the estate will have to file the wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and any surviving family members formally listed in the suit. If someone dies as a result of medical malpractice, only certain, expressly defined family members can bring a case for the loss of the loved one.
Family can bring legal action.
The specific family members who can bring a medical wrongful death case are: 1) children who are 25-years-old or younger; 2) adult children dependent on the deceased for financial support; 3) the spouse; and 4) the parents of a child who died due to malpractice can only recover if their child was 25 or younger at the time of death.
Florida Statutes section 768.19 states that when a person’s death “is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract” of another person or some other entity, the estate of the deceased person may bring a civil lawsuit in Florida’s courts, seeking a legal remedy for that death and the losses stemming from it.
If a child is born to unmarried parents, the child can recover damages in a wrongful death case if his or her mother dies. If the child’s father dies, however, the child can only recover damages if the father had formally recognized the child as his own and was obligated to contribute to the support of the child.
Time limitations to file.
A wrongful death lawsuit in Florida must be filed within two years of the date of death in most cases, according to Florida Statutes section 95.11(4)(d). The deadline may be postponed, under a few very specific circumstances, which is why an experienced attorney with personal injury and wrongful death actions can help you determine exactly when the statute of limitations expires in an individual case.
Because a wrongful death action is a civil claim brought to court by a representative of the deceased’s estate, the liability is expressed only in monetary damages. If criminal activity surrounds the wrongful death, those damages may be punitive and do not result in payment to family members.
Florida Statutes section 768.21 sets out the state’s rules for awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages that surviving family members receive is based on:
- the value of support and services the deceased person provided to the surviving family;
- loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased person;
- mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a family member, and
- medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.
The deceased person’s estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include:
- lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including the value of lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make in their lifetime;
- lost earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived; and
- medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.
If you need more information on wrongful death claim actions, please contact King Law Offices for assistance in determinations of fault, and actions toward compensation for losses and damages.
King Law Offices
2640 Golden Gate Pkwy.
Naples Florida 34105