Orlando, FL asked in Wrongful Death for Florida

Q: Is it possible to sue the state itself for wrongful death or does it have to be an individual?

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2 Lawyer Answers
David Hughes Harris
David Hughes Harris
  • Venice, FL
  • Licensed in Florida

A: Unsure of where your question is going. So, I'll give you a brief summary.

in the civil context, a wrongful death claim is brought by a court-appointed Personal Representative on behalf of the decedent's estate against a person or entity (private or public) for damages (financial compensation). This is a civil cause of action asserting that a person or entity wrongfully caused the death. Accordingly, the defendant may be federal, state, or local government (or their respective agencies or employees).

In a criminal context, only the State of Florida may prosecute crimes. Accordingly, if the death results from criminal activity, there may be a criminal case brought by the local State Attorney's Office. A civil claim may also be pursued separately through private counsel; however, these actions are typically paused while the criminal case is pending. Moreover, whether damages are recoverable from the perpetrator obviously depends on the circumstances and whether private counsel will agree to pursue a case if recovering financial compensation appears unlikely.

Talk to a local wrongful death lawyer to learn more.

Peter N. Munsing
Peter N. Munsing

A: If you are talking about a state official that caused the death, the usual form would be to sue the individual and the state or state entity. You would want to consult a member of the Fla Justice Assn that handles death cases. If it is a prison situation you need an attorney who handles wrongful death claims against the state. They give free consultations.

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