Any time someone close to us passes away, the grief can be overwhelming and it can make it all but impossible to think of anything besides how significantly our own lives are affected by the loss.
At some point, many people also find themselves concerned with holding the party who was responsible for a loss accountable. We know that doing so cannot bring a loved one back or replace them, but figuring out who or what caused the death and holding that person liable for the resulting damages can help you find some relief. In some cases and depending on your relationship to the decedent, you may be eligible to do this by filing a wrongful death claim.
However, Florida laws restrict the parties who can file these types of claims. Unfortunately, just because someone was very close to you does not mean you have the right to seek compensation for your loss, no matter how much the death may have affected you. In order to file a wrongful death claim in this state, you must have a specific relationship to the victim.
In most cases, the person or people who file a claim will be the decedent’s child, parents or spouse. Typically, the surviving spouse will be given first right to file a claim. Damages available will be based on relationship. For instance, a spouse may pursue damages related to loss of consortium while children may be eligible to receive damages for loss of guidance.
Other blood relatives may pursue damages in some cases, including siblings and other people who may have been at least partially dependent on the decedent. So, if your brother took care of you financially or physically but passed away, you may be eligible to pursue damages when you lose that support.
If you have recently lost a loved one, it can be reassuring to know what, if any, options you have to take legal action. Of course money and lawsuits may not be able to heal your pain or repair the devastation of a loss, but it can help you get some answers and closure which can help you begin to move forward.