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49 States Allow Families Justice for Wrongful Death, 1 Does Not

February 24, 2017

Welcome to Florida, the free kill state.  Because the deceased person is no longer available to bring the claim for himself or herself, another party must be allowed step in to bring the case to court on behalf of the deceased person's survivors and estate.  The right to bring forth a lawsuit due to wrongful death allows families to seek justice.  It also breeds the culture of correction.  If we have to pay for our mistakes, typically we try not to make them again.  Corrective actions occur only where there is accountability.

 

Florida is the only state with extreme limits on who can stand up for the rights of a loved one who suffered wrongful death at the hands of a medical facility or hospital.  With the largest elderly population, and millions of children residing in the state, Florida laws grant hospitals the right to kill them all with no correction.

 

Florida law states that lawsuits for wrongful death may be filed by only: Spouse and the child of the deceased if they are aged 24 or younger.

 

How many elderly people have a child under the age of 24 vs how many Florida based elderly people have nobody to get justice if they die a medically negligent death?   TOO MANY.

 

What if a hospital kills your child?  Would you want justice?  If you live in Florida and your child is 18 or older and un-wed you are out of luck. With over 3 million unwed college students, victims are rampant.

 

What if the deceased has no spouse and no children?  Who can get justice for them in Florida?  NOBODY.

 

Below is a list of the other 49 states and who may sue in the event of wrongful death.  There is something wrong here in Florida and Florida Medical Rights Association aims to ensure that it changes, but we need your help.  

 

Click here to sign a letter to state representatives asking for change.

 

Please sign the petition if:

*You live in Florida

*You know someone who lives in Florida

*You care about the life of someone who lives in Florida

*You care about health care accountability


State by state, who may stand up for justice when wrongful death occurs:

  • Alabama - Only the estate (so the executor of the estate) may bring a wrongful death case, and all damages in a wrongful death case in Alabama are paid to the estate (according to the will or laws of probate).

  • Alaska - a wrongful death claim must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person's estate. However, damages may be sought on behalf of both the estate and the individual survivors of the deceased person.

  • Arizona - the surviving spouse of the deceased person, any surviving child of the deceased person,a surviving parent or guardian of the deceased person, the personal representative of a deceased spouse, child, parent, or guardian, or the personal representative of the deceased person's estate.  If the deceased person is a child, in Arizona either of the child's parents or the child's legal guardian may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the child.

  • Arkansas - the deceased person's surviving spouse, children, parents, or siblings, persons standing "in loco parentis," and persons to whom the deceased stood in loco parentis.

  • California - the deceased person's surviving spouse, the deceased person's domestic partner, the deceased person' s surviving children.  if there is no surviving person in the deceased person's line of descent, then a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by anyone "who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession"; that can include the deceased person's parents, or the deceased person's siblings, depending on who is living at the time of the deceased person's death.  

  • Colorado - In Colorado, the surviving spouse of a deceased person is the only person who may file a wrongful death claim in the first year after the death. During the second year after the deceased person's death, both the surviving spouse and the surviving children of the deceased person are allowed to file a claim. If the deceased person left no surviving spouse and no surviving children, then the deceased person's parents may file a wrongful death claim in Colorado. In addition to the claim filed by the surviving family members, the representative of the deceased person's estate may file a claim to recover damages for certain types of losses to the estate. This claim is known as a "survival action."

  • Connecticut - a wrongful death claim must be filed by the executor or administrator of the deceased person's estate. If the deceased person died without making an estate plan (such as a will) that named an executor or administrator, or if the named executor or administrator cannot serve, the court may appoint an executor or administrator. This person is responsible for "wrapping up" the business of the estate as well as pursuing any wrongful death claim.

  • Delaware - In Delaware, wrongful death actions are pursued "for the benefit of the spouse, parent, child, and siblings" of the deceased person. "Child" includes children born out of wedlock, and "parent" includes parents who were not married to one another at the time the child was born. "Siblings" may either be related to the deceased person through both parents, or through only one parent.

  • Florida – Spouse and the child of the deceased if they are aged 24 or younger.

  • Georgia - If the spouse and the deceased person had minor children, the surviving spouse must also represent the interests of the children in court. In no case can the spouse receive less than one-third of the total recovery, no matter how many children there are.  If no surviving spouse or children are available to bring the claim to court, the claim may be brought by the following parties: the surviving parent or parents of the deceased, or the personal representative of the deceased person's estate.  If the personal representative brings the claim, any damages recovered are held by the estate for the benefit of the deceased person's next of kin

  • Hawaii - The following people may bring a wrongful death claim in Hawaii: the personal representative of the deceased person's estate, the surviving spouse of the deceased person, the "reciprocal beneficiary" of the deceased person, the deceased person's children, father, or mother, and anyone who was financially dependent upon the deceased person at the time of his or her death.  If the deceased person was a minor, the child's parents may bring the claim. If the parents have also passed away, however, a guardian may need to be appointed before the wrongful death case can proceed.

  • Idaho - the personal representative of the deceased person's estate, the "heirs" of the deceased person's estate, as defined by  Section 15-1-201  of the Idaho Probate Code, and the deceased person's spouse, children, stepchildren, parents, or any blood relatives that are partly or wholly dependent on the deceased person.

  • Illinois - a spouse of the deceased, a parent of a minor child who is deceased, or an adult child of the deceased.  If the deceased person died without appointing a personal representative in his or her estate plan, the court may appoint a personal representative. The personal representative is responsible for pursuing the wrongful death claim as well as carrying out other key tasks related to the estate.  

  • Indiana - a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the deceased person's estate. However, damages may be awarded to the deceased person's spouse, children, or other dependents. In a wrongful death claim involving the death of a child, the case must be filed by one or both of the child's parents. If the parents are divorced, the claim must be filed by a parent who has legal custody of the child. If both parents are deceased or their parental rights have been terminated, the case must be filed by the child's legal guardian.

  • Iowa - the administrator of the deceased person's estate, the spouse and surviving minor children of a deceased person, the adult children of a deceased parent, and/or the parents of a deceased minor or adult child. If the deceased person passed away without a will or other document naming an administrator for his or her estate, an administrator may have to be named before a wrongful death case can proceed.

  • Kansas - the surviving spouse, any surviving child or children, the surviving parents or grandparents, or the surviving siblings of the deceased person.

  • Kentucky - Before a wrongful death claim can be filed, the probate court must name or appoint a personal representative for the deceased person's estate. The personal representative is then responsible for bringing the wrongful death claim to court. The estate receives funeral and burial expenses, as well as the reasonable costs of pursuing the wrongful death claim.  The surviving family members receive the remainder of the damages award, typically intended to compensate the family for the loss of the care, companionship, guidance, and support of the deceased.

  • Louisiana - the surviving spouse or children of the deceased person, if there are no surviving spouse or children, the surviving parent or parents, if there are no surviving parents, the surviving siblings of the deceased person, or if there are no surviving siblings, the surviving grandparents of the deceased person.

  • Maine - a wrongful death claim must be brought to court by the personal representative of the deceased person's estate. Any damages awarded in the case are paid to the estate, which must distribute the appropriate amounts to the surviving family members or other beneficiaries.  Although the personal representative must bring the claim to court, beneficiaries of the claim may include the surviving spouse, children, parents, and other family members of the deceased person, particularly if the family members were dependents of the deceased person.

  • Maryland - Generally speaking, whether a certain person may file a claim depends on whether they are classified as a "primary" or "secondary" beneficiary.  Primary beneficiaries  include the surviving spouse, parents, and children of the deceased person. If a primary beneficiary is alive, he or she may file a wrongful death claim, a survival claim, or both. If a primary beneficiary brings either of these claims, any damages awarded in the claim are awarded solely to the primary beneficiaries. Secondary beneficiaries  include the surviving siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews, and other relatives. If there are no primary beneficiaries or no primary beneficiary is willing to bring either type of claim to court, a secondary beneficiary may file on behalf of both the primary and secondary beneficiaries.

  • Massachusetts - requires "the executor or administrator of the deceased" to file the wrongful death claim in court.  The executor or administrator is generally the person responsible for following any instructions left in the deceased person's will, for paying the deceased person's final debts, and for wrapping up the estate. Any damages recovered as a result of the wrongful death claim are paid to the deceased person's estate.

  • Michigan - the following family members of the deceased person can seek compensation via a wrongful death claim: parents and grandparents, brothers and sisters, children of the deceased person's spouse, and anyone who is left property in the deceased person's will.  If none of these people are living or if the deceased person had no will, anyone who could inherit the deceased person's estate may receive damages in a wrongful death case. This may include aunts and uncles or first cousins.

  • Minnesota - the surviving spouse and children of the deceased person, and/or the parents, grandparents, and siblings of the deceased person.

  • Mississippi - the personal representative of the deceased person's estate, the surviving spouse of the deceased person, the surviving parent or child of the deceased person, and any surviving siblings of the deceased person.

  • Missouri - has specific rules regarding who may bring a wrongful death lawsuit in the state's civil courts. First in line to bring such a claim are the surviving spouse, children, or grandchildren. The parents of the deceased person may also bring a wrongful death claim. When the claim involves the death of a child, the parents are most often the individuals who file the claim.  If the deceased person has no surviving spouse, children, grandchildren, or parents, then a surviving sibling may bring the wrongful death case to court. If there are no surviving siblings, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate may bring the claim. If there is no personal representative, the court will appoint a "plaintiff ad litem" to file the claim.

  • Montana - the personal representative of the decedent's [meaning the deceased person's] estate" may file a claim in court.  If the deceased person is a child under age 18, the wrongful death claim may be filed by either one of the child's parents, or by both parents together. If the child has no parents, the claim may be filed by the child's legal guardian.

  • Nebraska - Although a wrongful death claim in Nebraska is brought for the benefit of the deceased person's surviving family members, it must be filed by the legal representative of the deceased person's estate.

  • Nevada - the personal representative of the deceased person's estate, the surviving spouse, domestic partner, or children of the deceased person, and, the parents of the deceased person, if there is no surviving spouse or surviving child.  Other individuals may be allowed to file a civil claim for wrongful death if they can demonstrate to the court that they were actually dependent on the deceased person at the time of death. For instance, stepchildren or stepparents who were relying on the deceased person to support them may be able to establish a wrongful death claim in court. Likewise, a child who is not related to the deceased person -- but who can prove that the deceased person supported him or her for at least half of each calendar year -- may be able to bring a wrongful death claim and to receive damages if the claim succeeds.

  • New Hampshire - allows "any person interested in the estate of a deceased" to file a wrongful death claim in court. 

  • New Jersey - the surviving spouse and children or grandchildren, surviving parents of the deceased person, any surviving siblings, nieces, or nephews of the deceased person, and, any person who can demonstrate he or she was "actually dependent" on the deceased person.  Among family members, generally speaking, the surviving spouse or children come first. Only if there is no surviving spouse or child will surviving parents inherit, and only if there are no surviving parents can the siblings, nieces, or nephews of a deceased person receive damages in the wrongful death case.

  • New Mexico - If there is a surviving spouse but no children, all damages go to the spouse. If there is a surviving spouse and one or more children or grandchildren, damages are divided one-half to the spouse and one-half to the children or grandchildren. If there is no surviving spouse but there are surviving children or grandchildren, the damages are divided among the children or grandchildren according to New Mexico's "right of representation" laws.  If the deceased person has no spouse or children or is a child under age 18, the child's parents receive the damages awarded in a successful wrongful death suit. If there are no surviving parents, damages go to the deceased person's siblings, whether the deceased is a child or adult.

  • New York - New York places the responsibility for filing a wrongful death claim on the shoulders of the "personal representative" of the deceased person's estate. Unlike many other states, New York will not allow a family member to bring a wrongful death claim to court unless that family member is also the personal representative of the deceased person's estate.  However, the wrongful death claim may seek damages for losses suffered by the deceased person's heirs, beneficiaries, or devisees in addition to damages for any losses suffered by the deceased person's estate. If damages are awarded, the personal representative is treated by the court as if he or she holds the damages award in trust for the surviving family members to whom the proceeds belong.

  • North Carolina - the personal representative of the deceased person's estate must file the claim in court. The wrongful death claim may seek damages on behalf of both the estate and the surviving family members.  If the person named in the estate plan cannot or will not serve as personal representative, or if there is no estate plan, the court will appoint another individual. Surviving spouses, parents, or adult children are common choices of personal representative.

  • North Dakota - lists the individuals who may file a wrongful death claim in North Dakota, in the order in which they are allowed to file: the surviving spouse of the deceased person, the surviving child or children, either surviving parent of the deceased person, any surviving grandparent of the deceased person, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate, and, the person who had primary physical custody of the deceased person before the wrongful act occurred.  Parties have the right to file a claim in the order listed in the North Dakota statute. For instance, if both a spouse and child have survived the deceased person, the spouse has the right to file the claim.

  • Ohio - Ohio's wrongful death law specifies that the "personal representative" of the deceased person's estate must bring the wrongful death claim to court. Ohio law presumes that the following family members have suffered losses that can be compensated for in a wrongful death case: the surviving spouse of the deceased person, any surviving children, including adopted children, and the surviving parents of the deceased person. Other family members, such as siblings or grandparents, are not presumed to have suffered a loss. However, they may recover damages if they can demonstrate in court that they have suffered a compensable loss.

  • Oklahoma - Oklahoma law allows the "personal representative" of the deceased person's estate to bring a wrongful death claim to court. The personal representative stands in for both the deceased person and for the beneficiaries or heirs of the deceased.

  • Oregon - In most cases, the family member who files the claim is a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased person. However, other family members in Oregon are also allowed to bring wrongful death claims to court. These include the surviving grandparents, stepchildren, or stepparents -- all individuals who may also recover damages in a wrongful death claim.

  • Pennsylvania - a wrongful death claim is filed by the personal representative, it is brought to court on behalf of the beneficiaries of the deceased person's estate.

  • Rhode Island - if the deceased person has a surviving spouse and children, any damages awarded in the claim go to the spouse and children, if there is a spouse, but no child, any damages awarded go to the spouse, if there is no spouse and no child, the damages are distributed to the heirs at law, which may include the parents, grandchildren, or other parties.  If there is no executor or administrator, the surviving family members may file the wrongful death claim. The surviving family members may also file the claim if the executor or administrator does not file it within six months of the date of death.

  • South Carolina - the surviving spouse and children of the deceased person, the surviving parents of the deceased person, if there is no spouse or child, and the heirs at law of the deceased person, if there are no parents, spouse, or children.  Parents may recover in a wrongful death case even if their child was an adult at the time of death. However, a parent who abandoned a child before the child turned 18 may not recover in a wrongful death case involving the child’s death, even if the child was an adult at the time of death.

  • South Dakota - Although filing the wrongful death claim is the job of the personal representative, any damages recovered in the wrongful death claim belong to the deceased person's surviving spouse and children. If there is no surviving spouse or child, the damages belong to the deceased person's surviving parents or next of kin. If the deceased person was an unborn child, the damages belong to the child's natural parent or parents.

  • Tennessee - Initially, the right to file the wrongful death claim belongs to the surviving spouse of the deceased person. If there is no surviving spouse, the claim belongs to the following parties, in order: the surviving children or next of kin, the personal representative of the deceased person's estate, the surviving parent or parents, if the deceased person was dependent on his or her parent at the time of death, and the administrator of the deceased person's state, if the deceased person was a dependent at the time of death.

  • Texas - The Wrongful Death Act provides surviving spouses, parents and children with the opportunity to sue for damages following their loved one's death.

  • Utah - the "heirs" who may file a wrongful death claim include:  the surviving spouse, the surviving adult children, the surviving parent or parents, including adoptive parents, the surviving stepchildren, if they are under 18 at the time of death and were financially dependent on the deceased person, and other blood relatives as listed in Utah's inheritance laws. Utah law presumes that one of the heirs will take on the job of personal representative, which is why this position is often called "presumptive personal representative" in the state. However, if the deceased person has an estate plan, it may name a personal representative. The named personal representative may also file a wrongful death claim.

  • Vermont - requires the personal representative of the deceased person's estate to file the wrongful death claim.  However, damages in a wrongful death claim may be awarded for the benefit of surviving family members, as well as to compensate the losses of the estate itself.

  • Virginia - Under Virginia's wrongful death law, the right to file a wrongful death claim follows a specific order. Surviving spouses, surviving children, and the surviving grandchildren have the initial right to file the claim. If there is no surviving spouse, child, or grandchild, the surviving parents, siblings, and dependents may file. If there is no surviving parent, sibling, or dependent, the right to file belongs to whomever would inherit next under Virginia's estate law.

  • Washington - allows the following parties to file a wrongful death claim: the personal representative of the deceased person's estate, the spouse or state registered domestic partner of the deceased person, and the child, children, or stepchildren of the deceased person.  If the deceased person had no spouse, state registered domestic partner, children, or stepchildren, the deceased person's parents, sisters, or brothers may file a wrongful death claim.

  • West Virginia - Family members who may receive compensation via a wrongful death case in West Virginia include: the surviving spouse, the children, stepchildren, and adopted children, parents and siblings, and any family members who were financially dependent on the deceased person when the death occurred.

  • Wisconsin - the personal representative of the deceased person's estate; the surviving spouse, domestic partner, child, parent, or guardian of the deceased person.  Regardless of which party files the wrongful death claim, if the deceased person left behind a spouse, domestic partner, and one or more children under age 18, the court must "set aside" a portion of of any damages award for the care of the deceased person's dependents. This amount must take into consideration the age and abilities of the dependents, but it cannot be more than 50 percent of the total damages award.

  • Wyoming - In Wyoming, a wrongful death claim must be brought by the personal representative of the deceased person's estate. If the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased person is still alive, the estate's debts, if any, cannot be paid from any damages won in the wrongful death case.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS PICTURE?  WE THE PEOPLE HAVE THE POWER TO CREATE CHANGE.  JOIN ME IN PETITIONING THE LAW MAKERS IN FLORIDA TO CREATE A PATH WHERE HOSPITALS WILL BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE FOR NEGLIGENT DEATH.

 

*SOURCE: http://www.nolo.com/

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