Florida Statute 768.19 is also known as the Wrongful Death Act. The statute sets out when a person can recover for a Wrongful Death. When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person, including those occurring on navigable waters, and the event would have entitled the person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensued, the person or watercraft that would have been liable in damages if death had not ensued shall be liable for damages as specified in this act notwithstanding the death of the person injured, although death was caused under circumstances constituting a felony.
A Wrongful Death case is handled differently than a case where a person is injured, regardless of the severity of the injury. In a Wrongful Death case an estate must be established in the Probate Court. The Wrongful Death case is then pursued by the personal representative of the estate and on behalf of all survivors. Who are survivors under the Wrongful Death Act? A persons spouse is considered a survivor under the Wrongful Death Act, minor children, and all children if there is no spouse can also recover. A parent can recover for the Wrongful Death of their child if that child was under 25 years of age. If the person that passed away does not have a spouse or children than the parents of an adult child the parents can recover as well.
A Wrongful Death case, like a medical malpractice case, has two year statute of limitations which means you must act fast. Put simply if you have not settled a wrongful death claim or if you have not filed a lawsuit within two years of the accident you will lose your rights.
In a Wrongful Death case future earnings are a large component of the claim. In order to establish lost future earnings experts must be employed to properly pursue the case. For example an undocumented worker may still have recover for lost future earnings provided the right exxpert has been employed in the case.