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Wrongful Death Cases: Who Can File?

When you experience the loss of a loved one because of an act of negligence, the shock can make it difficult for you to recognize what comes next. Unfortunately, there is a long aftermath associated with a wrongful death, and it’s difficult for you to move forward.

Many factors come into play, but you must recognize the various parties who can file a wrongful death claim. Florida statutes limit the people eligible to seek compensation. If you need to file a lawsuit, you should know if you fall in line with the requirements outlined in the Florida state laws.

The Eligible Parties

Before you take any legal action, you should know that Florida requires the decedent to have a personal representative to his or her estate who can file a wrongful death claim. If the deceased person had a will or an estate plan, the documents will list the personal representative.

However, in the event there is no personal representative—if there is no will or estate plan—the court will appoint someone with the title.

The personal representative is the person who files the claim, but the compensation may go to the surviving family members of the decedent. All eligible surviving members who can pursue compensation must be on a list of parties with an interest in the case. Florida law limits eligible parties to:

  • The spouse of the deceased person

  • The children of the deceased person

  • The parents of the deceased person

There are certain exemptions to the three parties above. For instance, if a sibling (blood or adopted) relied on the decedent for financial support prior to the death, he or she may have an interest in the case. The personal representative may list the sibling for this reason.

In cases involving parents, certain factors come into play:

  • When a mother dies: The child may recover damages if he or she was born to unmarried parents.

  • When a father dies: The child may recover only if the father had parental rights to contribute to and support the child.

At Dismuke Law, our Lakeland wrongful death attorneys are here to help you understand your rights. Let us pursue the justice and compensation your family needs to move forward.

Call us today at (863) 292-6922.