Are grandparents entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of a child in the State of Florida? In Florida another state grandparents oftentimes have a strong bond with their grandchildren. The relationship between a grandparent and grandchild has a different dynamic than that of a parent. At times, grandparents are charged with the responsibility of raising a child for a short or extended period of time. In other instances, the grandparent and grandchild spend a good bit of time together due to a parents work and personal responsibilities. There is no question that the bond between many grandparents and grandchildren is strong and that the loss to a grandparent when a grandchild dies is quite painful and devastating for the grandparent. Often times, as a Florida Personal Injury Attorney, I am asked the following question:
Is the grandparent entitled to compensation for the wrongful death of a grandchild in the State of Florida?
Generally, the answer to this question is “No”. The rules and procedures for Florida Wrongful Death cases are set forth in Chapter 768 of Florida Statutes. Unfortunately, there is no provision in the Florida Statutes that provides for the pain, suffering, or other damages that gives the grandparent a right of compensation for these damages. There are situations that can provide a grandparent compensation. For instance, if the grandparent had previously adopted the grandchild, then the grandparent under the authority of the State of Florida would in essence be the “parent” for purposes of Florida’s Wrongful Death Act; however, in most instances, Florida law does not allow for compensation to a grandparent in a Florida Wrongful Death Act case.
Even though in most cases a grandparent cannot seek compensation for himself or herself, the grandparent may be able to assist parents in seeking damages for the wrongful death of a a child. A grandparent may be able to serve as the personal representative of the estate of the deceased child assuming that the parents consent to the same. The grandparent may also be able to provide valuable information and documents to assist with the pursuit of the wrongful death case.
While the grandparents cannot be awarded compensation individually, the grandparent can be of great value when pursuing damages, compensation, and justice for the tragic and untimely death of a child.
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