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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida?

When a loved one passes away due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another party, surviving family members are likely to experience both emotional grief and financial troubles. Final hospitalization bills, the cost of a funeral and burial service, and more can stack up and create a new debt. In Florida, a wrongful death lawsuit can be used in an attempt to gain compensation to make up for these costs, amongst other damages. But who can file such a claim?

According to Florida law, there is only one person who can actually file a wrongful death lawsuit: the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. If a will or trust never named an estate administrator, the court will appoint one. Although this seems fairly limited, the representative is tasked to file a wrongful death lawsuit for any party with a valid claim or interest to the estate.

People who can recover damages in a wrongful death lawsuit are the decedent’s:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents

Additionally, any blood relative, like a sibling or cousin, or an adoptive sibling, can be named in the wrongful death claim if they were dependent on the decedent for financial or living support. Dependence can be both partial and total. It should be noted that a child who is born out of wedlock cannot file a wrongful death claim if his or her alleged father passes away without officially accepting fatherhood of the child.

Florida’s wrongful death statue is fairly unique as it does not allow just any named inheritor from filing a claim. In some other states, if a person inherits any property from a decedent, they usually can have a stake in a wrongful death claim. This is not the case in Florida.

If you need help understanding the legal statutes pertaining to a wrongful death claim you need to file, you can find compassion, moral support, and legal assistance at Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC. Our Stuart wrongful death attorneys offer free consultations to inquiring parties, so call 866-675-4427 today.