Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida? Eligibility and Rights

Coping with the loss of a loved one is an incredibly challenging and emotionally taxing experience. When that loss is the result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, the grieving process becomes even more complex. In the state of Florida, the legal system allows for recourse through wrongful death claims. This blog aims to shed light on the eligibility criteria and rights of individuals seeking to file a wrongful death claim in Florida, providing essential information during a difficult time.

Defining Wrongful Death

Wrongful death, as defined by Florida law, occurs when the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party leads to the death of an individual. This legal avenue is designed to provide surviving family members with the opportunity to seek compensation for the financial and emotional losses resulting from the untimely death of their loved one.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Florida

Florida Statute 768.21 outlines the eligibility criteria for filing a wrongful death claim. The following parties are typically considered eligible to pursue such a claim:

  • Surviving Spouse: The surviving spouse of the deceased has the primary right to file a wrongful death claim. If the couple had children, the spouse may act on behalf of the children as well.
  • Children: If there is no surviving spouse, or if the surviving spouse does not pursue legal action within a certain timeframe, the deceased person’s children may have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
  • Parents: In cases where the deceased person had no surviving spouse or children, the right to file a wrongful death claim may fall to the deceased person’s parents.
  • Dependents: Individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased person and can demonstrate that dependency may also have the right to file a wrongful death claim.

Understanding the Rights of the Claimants

While the emotional toll of losing a loved one cannot be measured in monetary terms, wrongful death claims aim to address the financial repercussions and provide some semblance of justice. Claimants in Florida may be entitled to compensation for:

  • Medical and Funeral Expenses: The costs associated with medical treatment and funeral arrangements are often recoverable in a wrongful death claim.
  • Loss of Support and Services: Surviving family members may be compensated for the loss of financial support, services, and contributions that the deceased person would have provided.
  • Mental and Emotional Pain: Damages for mental pain and suffering experienced by surviving family members are also considered in wrongful death claims.
  • Loss of Companionship: The emotional impact of losing a loved one’s companionship and guidance may be factored into the compensation awarded.

Seeking Legal Counsel

Navigating the legal complexities of a wrongful death claim is a challenging task, particularly when emotions are raw. Consulting with a compassionate and experienced attorney can provide invaluable support during this difficult time. A qualified legal professional can guide family members through the process, ensuring their rights are protected and that they have the best chance of securing fair compensation.


Filing a wrongful death claim in Florida is a complex process, but it can be a vital step in seeking justice and financial support after the loss of a loved one. Understanding the eligibility criteria and rights of potential claimants is essential for those grappling with the aftermath of a wrongful death. In this difficult time, knowledge becomes a source of empowerment, helping families make informed decisions as they navigate the legal landscape.