Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Florida?

When a loved one dies, the family they leave behind suffers in many different ways. The emotional pain is agonizing. In addition, family members may have relied on their loved one for financial and personal support.

Florida law recognizes wrongful death claims. When a loved one passes away because of the negligent or reckless conduct of another person or entity, you may have a claim for financial compensation. But who can sue for wrongful death in Florida? Our Miami wrongful death attorneys explain what you need to know.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Florida?

In Florida, family members of the deceased victim and representatives of the victim’s estate can sue for wrongful death. Close family members like the surviving spouse, children, and parents can bring a claim.

In addition, the person who represents the victim’s final estate can bring a claim on behalf of the victim. There are a few small details that might change in the case, depending on who is bringing the claim. However, generally, the rule is that family members and the personal representative may sue for wrongful death in Florida.

Who Gets the Money in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?

Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida depends on who is a part of the claim. Generally, the spouse, children, parents, and any other blood relatives that rely on the victim for support can be a part of the claim. If more than one party joins the wrongful death claim, part of the claim is determining how to apportion the funds among the parties who are a part of the case.

Generally, if minor children are a part of the case, they receive a significant portion of the settlement, including payment for their pain and suffering. A spouse also receives a sizeable wrongful death settlement. If there is a surviving spouse, any adult children who are a part of the claim receive a lower amount of damages.

There isn’t a precise formula that applies to determine how much everyone gets. Instead, the parties determine how to apportion the funds as part of the settlement. If a party is unhappy with the agreement, they can object. If there’s an objection, the court can hold a hearing on whether the division of funds is reasonable. Who gets the money in a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida is the surviving close family members [1], apportioned based on their degree of relationship to the victim and their dependence on the victim for financial and emotional support.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Florida?

The following parties can sue for wrongful death in Florida:

  • Spouse
  • Minor children
  • Adult children
  • Parents
  • Other blood relatives that relied on the victim financially or personally
  • The person who represents the decedent’s estate

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid out in Florida?

Wrongful death settlements are paid out in Florida to the victim’s estate or directly to the victim’s family. If the personal representative of the estate is a part of the claim, the funds are paid to the estate. Then, those funds pass to the parties who inherit through the estate.

When qualifying relatives bring their claim directly, the wrongful death settlement is paid out to the victims. The parties must agree on how to divide the funds. If they can’t agree, the court decides. The funds are not paid out equally to all family members. Instead, wrongful death settlements are paid out in Florida based on the victim’s relationship to their relatives and the extent to which each relative relied on the victim for the comforts of life.

Wrongful Death Settlements in Florida

Wrongful death settlements in Florida are a way to compensate victims for the death of a loved one. Typically, when a personal injury accident occurs, the victim brings the claim on their own behalf. What they recover goes to their own estates and needs. However, when negligence results in a death, the victim can’t bring their own case. That’s where a wrongful death settlement can be appropriate.

What Does a Wrongful Death Settlement Accomplish?

A wrongful death settlement in Florida is a way for the surviving victims to receive justice on behalf of the victim. It’s a way of holding the negligent party responsible for what happened. For example, the estate may receive compensation for burial expenses and medical bills. Another important part of any wrongful death claim is providing for the needs of the victims. For example, minor children may need support for their care in the absence of the parent. A spouse may need replacement services for personal help around the home. All victims may have significant pain and suffering.

In a wrongful death claim, you work with an experienced attorney for wrongful death claims to value your losses. A settlement is a resolution that you agree to without a trial. If you’re unable to agree with the defendant on an appropriate resolution, you can take the case to trial and ask for a verdict from the court. A wrongful death lawyer in Florida can help you understand the value of your claim and help you evaluate whether you should enter into a wrongful death settlement.

Florida Wrongful Death Complaint

A Florida wrongful death complaint is the document officially opening a wrongful death case. The plaintiff states the facts that give rise to the claim. In a wrongful death case, you must state the following in your complaint:

  • There was negligent conduct (state what the negligent conduct is)
  • The negligent conduct resulted in the death
  • Surviving family exists for the victim
  • Financial damages and losses resulted from the death
  • Victims demand compensation for their financial and emotional losses

Miami Attorneys for Wrongful Death Claims

Do you have questions about whether you can sue for wrongful death in Florida? Let our legal team help you understand the law and fight for justice on your behalf. With a legal team that includes dozens of seasoned attorneys and legal professionals, we have a comprehensive team of aggressive legal advocates ready to fight for you. Let our team give you friendly, compassionate advice about your options after a loved one’s death. Call us for your free consultation about your wrongful death claim.


[1]FLA. STAT. § 768.21 (2019)

About the Author

attorney Jack Bernstein standing in front of a blurred background

Jack G. Bernstein, ESQ.

Jack Bernstein is a hard working and highly motivated personal injury attorney in Miami, Florida with over three decades of experience. He is a strategist and idea person, with a genuine passion for helping his firm’s clients. If you've been injured, contact Jack Bernstein today for a free evaluation of your case.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.