Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
While all death may seem wrong to those who lose a loved one, the legal meaning of “wrongful death” has a specific definition. A wrongful death lawsuit is when a civil lawsuit is pursued against a person or entity for causing a death, often when criminal charges are not pursued for murder or manslaughter. The plaintiff can be awarded compensation for the loss of a loved one, but only certain people can file a wrongful death suit in the state of Florida.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the financial and other losses that occur to survivors of the deceased are sought from the accused or defendant. A wrongful death could be caused by a workplace accident, a vehicle accident, a plane crash, a defective product, medical malpractice or dangerous premises. While the resulting death may not have been intentional, if it was preventable, the defendant may be found liable for damages in a wrongful death suit.
Plaintiffs in a Florida Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit
There are complex restrictions on who can file as a plaintiff in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit and what damages can be recovered. In the simplest terms, the plaintiff would be someone closely related to the deceased, usually a spouse, child, parent or dependent. However, there are restrictions on who can file, even those who are closely related.
In most cases, anyone who depended on the deceased for services or support may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit. For example, a spouse can file for lost income, medical costs, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering against a hospital if they believe their wife or husband died due to medical malpractice. Children of the deceased may also be plaintiffs, but if the children are over 25 years of age, there are restrictions. The same is true of parents of the deceased. Parents that lose a child younger than 25 have rights to file a wrongful death suit, but there are limits for parents of children older than 25. There are also restrictions on who may receive compensation for pain and suffering, which tends to bring the highest level of damages in wrongful death suits.
Due to the complexity of wrongful death lawsuits in Florida and who is allowed to file as a plaintiff, it is important to discuss your options with an experienced personal injury attorney. If you have suffered the loss of a family member under negligent circumstances, contact our team at Tison Law Group. We will take the time to discuss your wrongful death claim and advise you on your legal options.