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Knowing who can file a wrongful death lawsuit

When you lose a loved one to a car accident in West Palm Beach, that loss is often felt far beyond the emotional void that they leave behind. You might have relied on them for financial support as well, and replacing both that companionship and financial assistance is no easy feat. Many have come to us here at Rosenthal, Levy, Simon & RYLES in that exact same situation wondering if filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be a possibility for them. If you are considering a similar action, you should know who the state of Florida allows to file (and to benefit from) such a lawsuit. 

Section 768.20 of the Florida state statutes shows that only a decedent’s personal representative can formally file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, such action is typically brought on behalf of the decedent’s survivors. The state defines “survivors” as: 

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents

Blood relatives and adoptive siblings are also considered to be survivors when they rely on a decedent for financial support. The same is true for a child born out of wedlock when the decedent is their mother; when the decedent is their father, they are only a survivor if the father had formally recognized his responsibility for their support. 

Any financial reward that comes from a wrongful death lawsuit is given to the estate of the decedent. As their estate is meant to benefit you and other beneficiaries (assuming that your relationship with the decedent is among those previously mentioned), then only you and other survivors are permitted to benefit from a wrongful death action. 

You can learn more about dealing with the consequences of a fatal car accident by continuing to explore our site. 

 

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