Drowning Death in Florida – How Does a Parent Pursue a Wrongful Death Case?

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In Florida, children are victims of accidental drownings in residential pools, resort pools, hotel pools, rivers, ponds, canals, lakes, and water parks. In many of these drowning incidents, the person responsible for supervising the child fails to provide appropriate supervision. Sometimes, there is a maintenance or facility defect in the pool or at the water park. If negligence causes or significantly contributes to the Florida Wrongful death / drowning of a child, a parent can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible person and / or business. The Florida Wrongful Death of a minor child can be very complicated from a legal standpoint. There are many laws and statutes on point as well cases that deal with Florida Wrongful Death cases. A Florida Personal Injury / Florida Child Injury Lawyer can help a family through the legal issues of a wrongful death case including the setting up of an estate, reviewing insurance documents, reviewing police reports and autopsy reports, assessing liability, hiring investigators, reviewing medical records, review medical bills, pursuing a liability claim, and, when necessary, litigating the case to enforce the rights of the grieving parents to compensation for the wrongful death of the child.

Florida Wrongful Death cases are governed by Chapter 768, Florida Statutes. In Section 768.20, Florida Statutes, the Florida Legislature designates the person who can bring a wrongful death case on behalf of a child. In this Florida Statute, the lawsuit or claim must be brought by the personal representative of the estate of the child. Even if the child died without any assets and was a minor at the time of the death, an estate must be set up through a Florida Probate Court and must appoint a personal representative to pursue the lawsuit on behalf of the estate and the statutory survivors of the child.

There was an interesting legal case a few years ago that dealt with the drowning death of a minor child. In Hudson v. Moss – 653 So.2d 1071 (Fla. 5th D.C.A. 1995), the parents of a minor child filed a lawsuit against the owners of a residential swimming pool for the drowning death of the minor child. The jury determined that the swimming pool owners were 10 % at fault and the father of the child was 90 % at fault. It appears that the mother was not present at the home at the time of the drowning so no fault was assessed against the child’s mother. The jury awarded damages to each parent in the amount of $500,000 each. The mother’s award was reduced by her percentage of fault. The father was awarded 100 % of his damages from the pool owners even though the pool owners were only assessed 10 % of the fault. The Fifth District Court of Appeal noted the Section 768.20, Florida Statutes provided that “a defense that would bar or reduce a survivor’s recovery if he were the plaintiff may be assessed against him, but shall not affect the recovery of any other survivor.” Because of this Florida Statute and the Court’s legal interpretation of the same, the mother’s award in this case was not affected or reduced in any way due the negligence of the father.

The book titled – The ABCs of Child Injury – Legal Rights of the Injured Child – What Every Parent Should Know – has chapters on Water Park Injuries and Drownings, Damages / Compensation, Medical Bills / Medical Treatment and other topics. Get a free copy of this book at The ABCs of Child Injury.