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Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Having to face the death of a loved one is a tragic event. Knowing that the loss of a loved one could have been avoided makes the tragedy worse. When facing a case of wrongful death, lawyers are often asked who may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Read below for an explanation from a wrongful death attorney at Robert Sparks Attorneys.

Florida Statutes on Wrongful Death

In the State of Florida, wrongful death lawsuits are governed by statutory authority.

Florida Statute 768.16 addresses Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. Florida Statute 768.19 addresses when a person has a right of action and provides:

"When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person, including those occurring on navigable waters, and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued, the person or watercraft that would have been liable in damages if death had not ensued shall be liable for damages as specified in this act notwithstanding the death of the person injured, although death was caused under circumstances constituting a felony."

Once the right to bring a lawsuit has been established, one must then look to analyze who may bring or maintain the lawsuit on behalf of the deceased party. In these instances, the lawsuit would be brought by the decedent’s survivors.

Florida Statute 768.18 establishes who can maintain a lawsuit by defining a survivor as follows:

"Survivors means the decedent’s spouse, children, parents, and, when partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters. It includes the child born out of wedlock of a mother, but not the child born out of wedlock of the father unless the father has recognized a responsibility for the child’s support."

In general, once the above statutory conditions are met, a wrongful death lawsuit can be established. Should you or a loved one have a question regarding a wrongful death action, we invite you to contact our firm for a free case evaluation.