Children of decedents are considered survivors under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. The Wrongful Death Act applies if someone else was careless and killed your parent.
Children of the decedent may recover some types of damages as “survivors.”
The compensation that a child gets may depend on whether the child is considered a “minor child” under the Wrongful Death Act.
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Who is a “minor child” under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act?
The Wrongful Death Act states that “minor children” are children under the age of 25. (Florida Statutes 768.12)
Any child of the decedent, regardless of age, has the ability to recover the value of lost support and services from the day of the decedent’s injury forward. Florida Statute 768.21.
If the decedent was married at the time of his or her death, minor children can also recover damages for:
- Mental pain and suffering from the date of the decedent’s accident
- Lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance
Can a Child Get Compensation if Their Parent (Who Dies) Wasn’t Married?
If the decedent dies and at the time of his death he or she does not have surviving spouse, a child of any age may have a claim for lost instruction, parental companionship and guidance, and for mental pain and suffering from the date of the decedent’s injury. Florida Statute 768.21. But, if the decedent dies due to the carelessness of a medical professional, such as a doctor, children over the age of 25 can’t recover these damages.
Even if someone causes your parent’s accident, and you are entitled to pain and suffering under Florida’s wrongful death act, in order to actually get money the person – or company – that caused your parent’s accident has to have money to pay you.
Most of the time, payment from the person who caused the accident comes from:
- his or her bodily injury liability insurance if the death was caused by a car accident.
- the decedent’s or a resident relative of the decedent’s uninsured/underinsured motorist car insurance policy.
Example if Parent Was Married When He or She Died
Assume that John is 48, Sandra is 35, and Fred is 24. Their father Bill is married to their mother Mary. Bill is killed in a car accident in Miami, Florida when a truck rear-ended Bill’s car.
Mary was also in the car, and was badly injured. Sadly, she dies 8 days later due to injuries sustained from the crash.
Because the accident occurred in Miami, which is located in Florida, the Florida Wrongful Death Act applies. If the accident occurred in Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, or any city in Florida, the Florida Wrongful Death Act still applies.
The siblings decide that John is going to be the personal representative of the estate. In Florida, the personal representative brings the wrongful (accidental) death claim.
Fred may recover damages for mental pain and suffering, and lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance arising from both his mother and his father’s death. This is because Fred is 24 and is therefore considered a “minor child” under Florida’s wrongful death act.
John and Sandra do not have a case to get money for mental pain and suffering, or lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance resulting from their father’s death because they are more than 25 years old and their father was married at the time of his death.
John and Sandra are not considered “minor children” under the Florida wrongful death act.
Example is Parent Was Not Married When Killed
But what happens if Bill was not married at the time of his death?
In that instance, John and Sandra may have a case to get mental pain and suffering, or lost parental companionship, instruction and guidance from the date of the accident forward. This is because John and Sandra are adult children and their father would not have been married.
I invite you to learn more about actual settlements (and verdicts) for pain and suffering of a child in a case where a parent is killed in an accident or crime. You can also read about whether a parent has a case if their “minor child is killed in an accident or incident in Florida. You can also read about whether a parent has a case if his or her “adult child” was killed in an accident or incident, including but not limited to a:
- car, truck or motorcycle accident
- ATV accident
- drunk driving accident
- medical malpractice
- nursing home neglect (negligence)
- bicycle (bike) accident
See Our Settlements
Check out some of the many Florida injury cases that we have settled, including but not limited to car accidents, truck accidents, slip or trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, drunk driving (DUI) accidents, pedestrian accidents, drunk driving accidents, taxi accidents, bicycle accidents, store or supermarket accidents, cruise ship accidents, wrongful death, dog bites and much more.
Our Miami law firm represents people anywhere in Florida if someone’s carelessness caused their injuries in car accidents, truck accidents, slip, trip and falls, motorcycle accidents, bike accidents, drunk driving crashes, pedestrian accidents, cruise ship or boat accidents, store or supermarket accidents, wrongful death, accidents at someone else’s home, condo or apartment, accidents involving a Uber or Lyft Driver, and many other types of accidents.
Did someone’s carelessness cause your family member’s death in Florida, or on a cruise?
We want to represent you if you were injured in an accident in Florida, on a cruise ship or boat. If you live in Florida but were injured in another state we may also be able to represent you. We can also represent you if a family member was killed in Florida.
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in April 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.