In an accidental (wrongful) death case in Florida, a personal representative brings the case of the estate and each survivor.
If each survivor was allowed to have his or own wrongful or accidental death case, there could possibly be several lawsuits filed against the person or company that caused the incident or accident that resulted in the decedent’s death.
It prevents individual survivors rushing to settle the case and leaving the other survivors without any money for their claims.
Florida Statute 768.21 outlines the damages that each survivor and the estate can get. I made a short video that talks about the rights of a family members if a relative is killed in an accident.
John is 48, Sandra is 35, and Fred is 28. Bill is their father. Bill is killed in a car accident in Miami, Florida when a truck crashed into Bill’s car. The truck driver was at fault for the crash.
The accident occurred in Miami, which is located in Florida. Therefore, 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.
Bill was not married at the time of his death. Because Bill was not married at the time of his death, John, Sandra and Fred – the adult children – can recover mental pain and suffering for the death of their father, Bill.
In this video, I talk about the right of family members to get pain and suffering if their relative is killed in Florida. John and Sandra decide to file separate lawsuits for each of their wrongful or accidental death claims.
If they try to do this, the court will dismiss this because there can only be one wrongful death lawsuit and only a personal representative can bring the claim on behalf of the survivors and the Estate of the decedent.
In addition to having a claim for mental pain and suffering from the loss of their parent, the adult children can also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance from the date of the injury – which in this case was the car crash.
The adult children, just like children of any age, may be able to get money from the date of the injury – car accident – for lost support and services. The Estate may also have a claim for loss of earnings of the decedent and loss of net accumulations depending on the facts. You may want to learn more about how to divide a accidental death settlement in Florida between the survivors and the estate.
Did someone’s carelessness cause a family member’s death in Florida, or on a cruise or boat? Were you injured in another type of accident?
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Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in May 2013 and has been completely revamped and updated.