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Florida Wrongful Death FAQs

Florida Statutes section 768.19 states that when a person's death "is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract" of another person and "would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued," the estate of the deceased person may bring a civil lawsuit in Florida, seeking a legal remedy for that death and the losses stemming from it.​

What is the wrongful death statute in Florida?

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Florida?

In Florida, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate must file the wrongful death claim. The claim is filed on behalf of the estate and any surviving family members.

According to Florida Statutes section 768.18, ​a survivor includes:


  • The deceased person's spouse, children, parents, and
  • any blood relative or adoptive sibling who is "partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services."
  • *If a child is born out of wedlock, the child is considered a survivor automatically if the deceased person is the mother, or if the father is deceased, only if the father recognized responsibility for the child's support.

Who is a surviving family member in Florida?

What damages can the survivors recover in a Florida wrongful death action?

Florida Statutes section 768.21 states damages that surviving family members may receive in wrongful death cases includes:


  • The value of support and services the deceased person had provided to each surviving family member
  • The surviving spouse may recover for the loss of companionship and protection provided by the deceased person and for mental pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional pain and suffering due to the loss of a child. Parents of an adult child may recover if they are the only survivors, and
  • Medical or funeral expenses any surviving family member has paid for the deceased person.


The deceased person's estate may also recover certain types of damages. These include:


  • Lost wages, benefits, and other earnings, including lost earnings that the deceased person could reasonably have been expected to make if he or she had lived
  • Lost "prospective net accumulations" of the estate, or the value of earnings the estate could reasonably have been expected to collect if the deceased person had lived, and
  • Medical and funeral expenses that were paid by the estate directly.

Do I even need a Florida wrongful death attorney?

Not every wrongful death claim requires the use of an attorney. However, it doesn't hurt to consult with an attorney. Often times surviving family members, understandably, do not want to deal with legal actions after the loss of a loved one. We offer free wrongful death action consultations and we'll help you find the right attorney even if we can't take your case.

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