A recent Sarasota Herald-Tribune piece has recently brought attention to a loophole in Florida’s wrongful death laws. A wrongful death claim or lawsuit is a special kind of claim brought when someone dies as a result of a defendant’s negligent or intentional act. The victim’s survivors bring the lawsuit to recover pain and suffering and other damages caused by their loved one’s avoidable death.
Victim’s families, however, are often shocked to learn about Florida’s controversial law that defines who is and who is not allowed to sue for pain and suffering when a loved one wrongfully dies. That’s why it is crucial to contact a wrongful death attorney in Port St. Lucie to help wade through the myriad of issues involved when someone dies as a result of another’s negligence.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits In Florida
The case that was discussed in the Sarasota Herald-Tribune involved a 51 year old man who checked into a local hospital for routine surgery. After being transferred from Sarasota Memorial Hospital to a Tampa hospital, he passed away within 18 days. The family had many questions about what went wrong and whether medical mistakes were made.
Even if this man’s mother (who was left to mourn his loss without receiving any closure or firm answers from the medical team) did have a path to proving medical malpractice, the law would not have been on her side. The state has already established a legal blueprint for handling such cases.
Florida’s Wrongful Death Act provides what many criticize as an arbitrary distinction between deaths caused by medical malpractice vs. deaths due to other causes like car accidents. Under the Wrongful Death Act, only a surviving spouse or child under the age of 25 can sue for pain and suffering damages for a wrongful death caused by medical malpractice.
Since this Act comes with this controversial loophole, clients are not always able to hold medical facilities responsible for errors that have taken place. This is a major issue that keeps families of single residents from being able to receive the compensation that they deserve.
The law is unique to the state of Florida, and patient advocates around the country are watching closely. Critics of the law point out the inherent unfairness in this law, especially in a state like Florida. Florida has a high population of widowed seniors, unmarried college students and middle-aged single and divorced residents whose children are over the age of 25. For those reasons, activists are now looking for ways to abolish Florida’s “Free Kill” law.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, contact a Port St. Lucie wrongful death attorney right away to obtain the justice your loved one deserves.