Who can bring an action for a wrongful death?

When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person, and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued, the person that would have been liable in damages if death had not ensued shall be liable for damages to the deceased persons estate and legal heirs. Although more than one party may have a claim for compensation in the event of Wrongful Death, the general class of people that have standing (a legal right) to bring an action in court for a wrongful death are those who were wholly, or partially, dependant on the deceased for support and maintenance.  Florida Statute 768.20  directs that the “action shall be brought by the decedent’s personal representative, who shall recover for the benefit of the decedent’s survivors and estate all damages, as specified in this act, caused by the injury resulting in death.

The class defined by statute as “Survivors” includes, but is not limited to, the decedent’s spouse, children, parents and can also include other blood relatives if they were wholly dependent on the decedent.  The statute recognizes that children born out of wedlock also may be considered survivors. By statute, children of a deceased mother born out of wedlock are automatically considered survivors whereas children of a deceased father are only considered survivors if the father assumed responsibility for the child’s support.

How do I know if I am considered a survivor? Call the Law Office of Dan Newlin & Partners at (407) 888-8000 to see if you have a wrongful death claim. Although laws are written for the benefit of the general public, they often contain very complex legal terms.  We have always made it a policy to ensure that our clients are fully informed of all legal options. This includes a complete and thorough explanation of the applicable laws. Please contact our firm if you have any questions as to whether or not you think you may be entitled to bring a wrongful death action on behalf of a loved one. Remember, you owe us no fee or costs if we do not get a settlement for you. Please call or contact us today. You will be glad you did.