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Understanding the limits of wrongful death

On Behalf of | Nov 5, 2021 | Wrongful Death

Experiencing the death of a loved one is often a traumatic experience. Whether it is a family member or close friend, losing someone will dramatically alter your life.

When a loved one’s death results from an accident, it can seem like they were ripped from your life without warning. While there might be a party that caused the accident, only certain people can make a wrongful death claim.

Here’s what you should know about who can make a wrongful death claim in Florida.

Close family, only

When it comes to making rules about who can and cannot pursue a wrongful death claim, it is easy to make a long list of people impacted by someone’s death. Rather than look solely at the impact, courts also tend to consider the deceased’s relationship.

Although some might quote the line, “friends are the family we choose for ourselves,” the law takes a different approach. In Florida, only certain family members can benefit from a wrongful death claim, including:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Minor children
  • Adult children (if there is no surviving spouse)
  • Parents of a deceased minor child
  • Parents of an adult child (if there are no other surviving qualified relatives)

In addition to leaving out friends, the rules also exclude many extended family members.

Recovering damages

While no amount of money can replace a loved one, a wrongful death claim can support those who were dependent on the family member. A Personal Representative for the loved one’s estate must be appointed to act on behalf of those who may eventually benefit from a wrongful death claim.

Eligible family members can potentially recover certain damages such as loss of income, pain and suffering, loss of support, and medical and funeral expenses. These funds can help family members as they mourn their loss.

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