Who can sue for a wrongful death action in Miami Florida?

When death occurs because of the willful or accidental negligent acts of others, filing a wrongful death claim may be necessary with the assistance of an attorney.


Wrongful deaths occur from accidents, medical malpractice, criminal acts, police brutality, and products liability errors.  In the State of Florida, if a person dies due to a wrongful act caused by negligence, breach of contract or default, a deceased person’s estate may file a civil suit for a legal remedy for the death and losses related to it. If  someone dies as a result of medical malpractice, only certain family members can bring a case for the loss of the loved one, otherwise the personal representative of the estate will have to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate and any surviving family members listed in the legal documents.

If death occurs due to medical malpractice, the family members who can sue 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.
  5. (Exception) 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 recognized the child as his own and was obligated to support the child.


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.

Statute of limitations.

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 making legal representation valuable.


Monetary damages can only be sought after in a wrongful death civil action by a representative of the deceased’s estate, but if the death was a result of criminal activity, punitive damages may also be sought after.  Florida Statutes section 768.21 sets out the state’s rules for awarding damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Damages are based on:

  • support and services the deceased person provided to the family;
  • loss of companionship, guidance, and protection provided by the deceased;
  • mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a family member, and
  • medical or funeral expenses paid for the deceased person.

The deceased person’s estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include:

  • lost wages, benefits, and earnings, including the value of lost earnings the deceased 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.

Seek legal counsel.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person, you may be able to file a wrongful death action and receive compensation for that loss.  Contact a professional attorney at Orlando R. Murillo, P.A. for consultation and guidance with your legal claim.

Orlando R Murillo P.A.

Miami Office
7350 SW 89th Street, Toscano Building
Suite 100
Miami, Florida 33156
Phone: 786-530-4288