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Understanding the Rights of Parents in Florida Wrongful Death Claims


A sad parent speaking to a lawyer about a tragic wrongful death claim.

There are few pains that can compare to that of grieving parents who have lost a child. This pain is only compounded when the cause of your child’s passing is someone’s careless or reckless actions. As the parent of a deceased child in Florida, you have legal rights, and obtaining justice for your family requires that you exercise those rights.

Wrongful death lawsuits are unique and complicated personal injury cases. It can be helpful to understand the basics of how these claims work and how a Florida wrongful death attorney can guide you through the recovery process and advocate for your family’s best interests along the way.

How Florida Law Defines a Minor Child

When speaking of a minor child for purposes of Florida’s wrongful death statute, it should be noted that a minor child includes unmarried children up to the age of 25. Thus, so long as your child does not have a spouse or children of their own and is not over the age of 25, you likely have rights as the child’s parents.

3 Critical Rights of Parents in Wrongful Death Cases

A wrongful death attorney can explain how your legal rights apply to your specific situation. Generally, a parent whose child died due to another’s negligence can expect these three key rights:

1. To File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A successful wrongful death lawsuit provides compensation to you and other beneficiaries for your expenses and losses after your child’s passing. However, only one person can bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, and that is the personal representative of the decedent’s estate.
The personal representative is the individual chosen by a court to handle the affairs of your deceased child. In many cases, this is either you or the child’s other parent. However, it could be some other person if the court has reason to believe you and the other parent cannot fulfill the duties of a personal representative.

If you are not the personal representative of your child’s estate, you will not be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is true even if the personal representative declines to bring a wrongful death lawsuit or forgets to file one.

2. To Recover Compensation for Your Child’s Injuries and Losses

No matter who brings the wrongful death suit, that person can seek damages through the lawsuit to compensate you for financial losses. This includes any medical care and treatment that your child needed before they passed, including ambulance services and emergency care. Funeral and burial expenses can also be recovered.

Compensation for these expenses is technically paid to the child’s estate. The personal representative then pays these expenses as part of settling the child’s estate. While this compensation does not end up in your pocket, it keeps you from paying these costs and bills yourself.

3. To Recover Damages for Your Mental Pain and Suffering

As a parent, Florida law specifically allows you to recover damages for your mental pain and anguish following the death of your child.

Unlike other damages, these are paid to you and do not depend on whether you filed the wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death attorney can help you determine what amount of damages you can receive for your mental trauma.

It is important to keep in mind that, unlike some states, Florida does not limit how much compensation you can recover as a grieving parent. The only limitation is that a judge or jury must find this amount reasonable if the amount is challenged.

When to Contact a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney

As difficult as it may be, it is vital to contact a Florida wrongful death attorney as soon as possible following the death of your minor child. A wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within the statute of limitations, and your lawyer can ensure this deadline is met so that you are free to grieve the loss of your child without added burden.

Schrier Law Group is your experienced and compassionate wrongful death law firm in Florida. When you trust a dedicated personal injury attorney from our team, you can rest assured that your legal rights as the parent of your child will be honored and respected.

We have the skills and resources necessary to resolve your wrongful death claim as quickly as possible — while seeking justice on your family’s behalf. Contact Schrier Law Group to learn more about what we can do for your case and schedule your consultation today.