Wrongful death has not always been a recognized area in personal injury law. It used to be that when a person died, any claim they had to a personal injury lawsuit died with them. However, we have come to recognize that every person’s life is intertwined with many others, and that the death of a parent or spouse is an injury to the surviving family members.
To apply this understanding, the Florida legislature adopted the first statutes creating wrongful death law in 1899. At first, that may seem like a long time ago, but when you consider that many elements of personal injury law go back to English common law, which, according to scholars, developed during the period from 1066 to 1215, with the first major codifications coming under King Henry II between 1154 and 1189. And our current wrongful death statutes are much, much newer, being first proposed in 1975.
Why does it matter that wrongful death law derives from statute and not from common law? The difference is that many cases deriving from common law can be argued by parallels and general understandings among the community, but with statutory law, there is no authority but the statutes to apply to. The Florida Supreme Court has shown again and again that, except where provided by the articles themselves, it interprets the law very closely to what it perceives is the legislative intent.
To succeed, a wrongful death case must also be very closely based on the wrongful death laws.
At The Cochran Firm South Florida, we can apply the laws to help you understand whether you may be able to receive compensation after the loss of a loved one. Please contact us today for a free case evaluation. Helping clients in the Miami, Florida area.