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Who can pursue a wrongful death claim in Florida?

Anytime a loved one dies in an accident, those who are left behind can be devastated and experience considerable grief. It is natural in these situations to have several questions about the death. Who was to blame? Could the accident have been prevented? How will we cope with the financial responsibilities of funerals, medical bills and the loss of support that resulted from the accident?

One way to get these and many other questions answered is to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault party with the help of an attorney. However, it is critical to understand that in accordance with Florida wrongful death statutes, only certain people are eligible to file this type of claim for compensation.

The law states that only "survivors" may file a lawsuit to recover damages. This should not be mistaken for "relatives," as not all relatives may be eligible.

In order to file a wrongful death claim, a person must be a decedent's:

  • Spouse
  • Child
  • Parent

There are some relatives like brothers and sisters (biological or adopted), blood-related aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews and others who may be able to file a claim but they must show that they were dependent on the victim either partially or completely.

This means that if your boyfriend, girlfriend, best friend or long-term partner is killed in an accident, you typically wouldn't be able to seek compensation.

If you are considered to be a direct survivor or relative and were dependent on a fatal accident victim, you can collect compensation from a negligent party by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Of course money cannot replace a loved one or repair the damage that has been done, but it can help people cope with the damages, hold the appropriate parties accountable and get a sense of closure. 

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