Wrongful Death Loopholes

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Florida’s wrongful death statute is theoretically designed to compensate victims and punish the responsible parties. Unfortunately, in a medical malpractice claim, neither of these things may ever be able to happen, even in a clear case of negligence.

Florida’s Wrongful Death Act applies to most fatal accidents. However, in a medical negligence case, only the following people have standing to sue for all wrongful death damages:

  • A living spouse
  • A living blood relative who was wholly dependent on the victim
  • Living children under age 25
  • A person not on this list can sue for damages but may only recover hard costs, such as medical bills and funeral expenses

Upon cursory examination, the law seems fair. The Wrongful Death Statute is designed to compensate those people who are most directly affected by a person’s negligently-inflicted death. Logically, such people are limited to spouses and minor children. But the law fails to account for a number of different scenarios:

  • A divorced, widowed or otherwise spouse-less person dies, leaving only adult children behind. Unless the children were still living at home and had no means of support, the children cannot sue for damages to recover money for loss of consortium and the other emotional pain they feel.
  • A young childless adult dies as the direct result of medical negligence. The siblings may file a claim for damages but their damages are capped at a very low level. Such a result is especially egregious if the siblings were very close or living together.

If you or a loved one has been injured in any sort of claim involving medical negligence, you probably have questions about what the law allows and does not allow.

Topics:  Negligence, Wrongful Death

Published In: Personal Injury Updates

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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