Can a parent of a married adult child pursue a wrongful death claim?

My son was recently killed in an auto accident. He was the passenger; the driver of the vehicle failed to yield. My son was married 3 years ago and his wife has a lawfirm working for her. I want to know if I, as well as my ex-wife and our other 2 children, have a case? Can we sue even though he was married?

Asked on August 24, 2013 under Personal Injury, Florida

Answers:

Robert Slim / Robert C. Slim - Attorney at Law

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

If this case arose in Texas, then Texas law does permit such a claim.  I recently handled a case just like this.  Did the deceased have any children? You should contact a Texas personal injury lawyer so that all the facts can be carefully analyzed.  You need to call someone right away since the surviving spouse is pursuing her claim and might try to collect all the available insurance benefits. (214) 321-8225.

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 7 years ago | Contributor

Those who may sue as a "survivor" under the FL Wrongful Death Act for are limited to the following:

  • the decedent’s spouse;
  • the decedent’s children born of a marriage;
  • a decedent mother’s children born out of wedlock;
  • a decedent father’s children born out of wedlock if the father, prior to his death, recognized a responsibility for the child’s support;
  • the decedent’s parents;
  • any blood relatives partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services;
  • any adoptive brothers and sisters partly or wholly dependent on the decedent for support or services.

Therefore, based on the above, it appears that as his parents, you and your ex-wife could in fact sue for your son's wrongful death. However, unless his sisters were dependent on him, they could not.

 Additionally, what you can sue for my be somewhat less than what his wife is entitled to.

Finally, you must bring suit within the prescribed period of time or lose your rights to sue. This time period is known as the "statute of limitations" and in most states it generally runs from 2-3 years in such a case.

The fact is that all of this can get rather complicated, so you should at least consult with a personal injury attorney in the area of where the accident occured. They can best advise you as to your rights and remedies.


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