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Can an Adult Child Sue for a Parent’s Wrongful Death if They Aren’t Financially Dependent?

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Posted on April 12, 2024

Adult children sue for parent's wrongful death

Yes, adult children can sue for the wrongful death of a parent, even if they are not financially dependent on their parents.

In many cases, adult children are entitled to recover damages for the loss of prospective net accumulations (the money their deceased parent could have saved and left for them in their will).

It’s a common misconception that children are only able to claim damages for a parent’s wrongful death if they are a minor, unmarried, or financially dependent on their parents.

The truth is that children who are adults, married, and don’t live with their parents can still claim damages for loss of inheritance, funeral costs, medical bills, and any other expenses they incurred due to the loss.

Read on to learn more about the compensation available in wrongful death cases the legal requirements for adult children to file a claim.

If you’ve lost a parent due to the reckless or negligent actions of a person or business, contact a Tampa wrongful death lawyer for legal advice on how you can seek justice.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?

Florida’s wrongful death statute provides certain family members the legal right to recover financial damages when negligence leads to a wrongful death. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate the survivors for the loss of their loved one.

Under Florida law, the following relations can pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim:

  • Surviving spouse of the deceased
  • Children of the deceased, including biological, adopted, or foster children
  • Any blood relative or adoptive sibling who was partly or wholly dependent on the deceased for support
  • Any adoptive parents of the deceased

The surviving spouse has first priority to file a wrongful death claim. If there is no surviving spouse, the deceased’s adult children have the right to file a lawsuit.

The personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate can also initiate a wrongful death suit on behalf of the survivors.

Damages Available in Florida Wrongful Death Claims

The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the survivors for the losses and damages they have suffered. Some damages available in Florida wrongful death claims include:

  • Loss of companionship and pain and suffering
  • Loss of support and services the deceased would have provided
  • Medical and funeral expenses
  • Loss of future wages and benefits
  • Loss of prospective net accumulations (future savings)
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Mental pain and suffering

In Florida, adult children who were close to the parent and dependent on them for support may recover damages. Damages are divided among survivors based on their relationships and losses.

Statute of Limitations for Florida Wrongful Death Claims

In Florida, most wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the date of death. However, in cases involving intentional acts of violence, a wrongful death action can be brought at any time.

The statute of limitations is the amount of time families have to take legal action. Consult with an attorney as soon as possible so you don’t miss your opportunity to file a claim.

Consult a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney

Losing a parent is painful and their unexpected death can devastate families emotionally and financially. Florida law gives family members the right to hold the responsible parties accountable.

An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options. Call today for a free consultation.


Florida Statutes § 768.21 – Wrongful death act.