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Who is allowed to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida?

Florida has enacted wrongful death statutes, recognizing the public policy that the losses a person's survivors incur when a wrongful death takes place should be shifted to the wrongdoer.

When a person dies due to another person's wrongful act, negligence, default or breach of warranty or contract, then the person committing the act may be liable for the damages incurred from the death, if the deceased could have brought a lawsuit for damages had death not occurred. This is a wrongful death lawsuit. Since the deceased is no longer around to pursue damages, a wrongful death lawsuit will be brought by a personal representative of the deceased. The personal representative will pursue damages for the benefit of the deceased's survivors.

Florida statutes specifically define who a "survivor" can be. Under Florida Statutes section 768.18, there are a number of relations that fall under the definition of "survivors." These include the decedent's spouse, children and parents. Survivors also include any of the decedent's relations by blood and adoptive siblings, if these persons were partially or entirely dependent on the decedent for support or services. Survivors also include children born outside the bonds of matrimony to a mother. However, survivors do not include children born outside the bonds of matrimony to a father, except in cases in which the father took on responsibility for the support of the child.

This is only a very basic overview of Florida's wrongful death statutes. It cannot address any person's specific circumstances, nor can it serve as legal advice. Those who want to learn more about Florida's wrongful death statutes are encouraged to seek the advice of a personal injury attorney.

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