If your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence or other improper conduct, you might have a claim for wrongful death. The Florida Wrongful Death Act requires you to prove these three factors to hold the defendant liable:
- The defendant caused your loved one’s death through a negligent or wrongful act, a default or a breach of contract or warranty.
- If your loved one had survived his or her injuries, they would have had a legal right to sue the defendant and recover compensation.
- You are a “survivor” under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. A survivor for purposes of wrongful death in Florida includes the deceased person’s spouse, children, and parents. Also, any blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters of the decedent who rely in part or wholly on the support or services of the deceased person are survivors under the Act.
Five Categories of Negligence and Wrongful Acts
A wrongful death lawyer can help you prove causation through any one of these five categories of acts:
The defendant had a duty of care toward your loved one and failed to meet that duty, which resulted in the harm to your loved one. For example, a person must operate a motor vehicle safely. If the defendant was participating in an illegal road race when he or she struck and killed your loved one, who was a pedestrian, the defendant was negligent.
If your loved one died as the result of medical malpractice, their case would be an example of a wrongful act for purposes of wrongful death.
The act of default is the failure to do something one had a legal obligation to do. By way of example, if a social worker failed to report child abuse and the child later died at the hands of his abuser, the failure to act can be grounds for a wrongful death claim.
Breach of Contract
An example of a breach of contract resulting in a wrongful death claim is if a bank hired security guards to prevent robberies, and the failure of the guards to show up for work resulted in your loved one dying in a bank robbery. The security guard company’s breach of its contract contributed to the harm to your loved one.
Breach of Warranty
Products carry an implied warranty that they are safe to use as intended. If a car explodes because a design defect causes a gasoline leak, the breach of warranty caused the harm to the person killed in the explosion.
Additional Rights under the Florida Wrongful Death Act
The Wrongful Death Act treats specific children in unique ways. For example, children born out of wedlock can sue for damages for the wrongful death of their mothers. These children can only sue for the loss of their fathers if the father acknowledged a duty to support the child. Also, the Act defines a minor child as one who is under the age of 25 years.
If you think that your loved one might have been the victim of wrongful death, please call the Montero Law Center at 954-767-6500. Our legal team offers free case reviews. We can answer your questions about who might be liable and whether you might be entitled to compensation for your loss.