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Florida Wrongful Death Claims Involving Suicide

Dealing with the preventable death of a loved one is one of life’s most challenging burdens. Under Florida’s wrongful death statute, individuals or entities who acted negligently or recklessly in causing another’s death may be liable for the damages they caused. The state’s statute allows the deceased person’s survivors a mechanism to secure compensation for the death of their family members. However, these cases require a comprehensive understanding of the state’s complex evidentiary and procedural laws. An experienced Florida wrongful death attorney can represent family members in their wrongful death claims.

A recent Florida wrongful death appeal highlights the onerous burdens that many plaintiffs encounter when pursuing these cases. The Third District Court of Appeal issued an opinion addressing the dismissal of a wrongful death complaint involving an uninsured motorist. According to the record, the uninsured motorist collided with another motorist, rendering that motorist permanently disabled. After several years of litigation, the motorist died by suicide.

As the personal representative of the motorist’s estate, the motorist’s brother brought a wrongful death lawsuit against some of the motorist’s former attorneys. According to the complaint, the brother alleged that the attorneys’ negligence and legal malpractice were the proximate cause of his brother’s death. Specifically, the plaintiff argued that the attorneys’ failure to render reasonable care and professional skill prevented him from having the ability to pay for treatment and medication and caused him to experience pain and suffering that ultimately led to his suicide.

The trial court found that the attorneys’ alleged malpractice was not the proximate cause of the motorist’s death. On appeal, the district court affirmed the dismissal, finding that the motorist’s counsel did not have a duty to prevent his suicide. The court explained that under Florida case law, dismissal with prejudice is appropriate when the complaint failed to state a cause of action. Further, to prevail in a Florida wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must provide that the defendant caused the victim’s death through a wrongful act that would have entitled the victim to bring an action if they had survived. Generally, there is no liability for the suicide of another or injuries sustained in a suicide attempt. Here, the plaintiff’s complaint did not sufficiently allege that the motorist’s attorneys knew he was suicidal or that they had any duty or legal ability to control the motorist’s daily actions.

Have You lost A Loved One in a Preventable Accident?

If you or someone you know has suffered injuries or died in a preventable Florida accident, contact the experienced lawyers at Friedman Rodman Frank & Estrada. The attorneys on our team understand the devastating toll a preventable and unexpected death can have on a victim’s loved ones. We work to ensure that our clients receive the best representation and secure the compensation they deserve. In addition to Florida wrongful death claims, our office handles other types of personal injury lawsuits, premises liability claims, nursing home negligence, and medical malpractice lawsuits. Contact our office at 877-448-8585 to schedule a free initial consultation with an attorney on our team.

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