The loving parents of a 39-year-old special needs son who was dependent on them cannot recover for his wrongful death as a result of dental malpractice because Florida’s wrongful death statute preculdes the parents of an adult child from recovering for their losses as a result of an adult child’s death due to medical neglignce.
The adult child stopped breathing during a dental procedure in September 2014 because the dentist administered too much sedation too quickly. The dentist was also alleged to have negligently failed to follow emergency protocols in responding to the patient’s breathing problem. The adult child died two days later.
While the dentist reportedly lost her dental license as a result, she is immune from a wrongful death claim under Florida law because the adult child was unmarried and had no children at the time of his death.
Florida Statute 768.21
Florida Statute 768.21 states, in part: Damages.—All potential beneficiaries of a recovery for wrongful death, including the decedent’s estate, shall be identified in the complaint, and their relationships to the decedent shall be alleged. Damages may be awarded as follows:
(1) Each survivor may recover the value of lost support and services from the date of the decedent’s injury to her or his death, with interest, and future loss of support and services from the date of death and reduced to present value. In evaluating loss of support and services, the survivor’s relationship to the decedent, the amount of the decedent’s probable net income available for distribution to the particular survivor, and the replacement value of the decedent’s services to the survivor may be considered. In computing the duration of future losses, the joint life expectancies of the survivor and the decedent and the period of minority, in the case of healthy minor children, may be considered.
(2) The surviving spouse may also recover for loss of the decedent’s companionship and protection and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury.
(3) Minor children of the decedent, and all children of the decedent if there is no surviving spouse, may also recover for lost parental companionship, instruction, and guidance and for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. For the purposes of this subsection, if both spouses die within 30 days of one another as a result of the same wrongful act or series of acts arising out of the same incident, each spouse is considered to have been predeceased by the other.
(4) Each parent of a deceased minor child may also recover for mental pain and suffering from the date of injury. Each parent of an adult child may also recover for mental pain and suffering if there are no other survivors …
(8) The damages specified in subsection (3) shall not be recoverable by adult children and the damages specified in subsection (4) shall not be recoverable by parents of an adult child with respect to claims for medical negligence as defined by s. 766.106(1).
Hence, not only are adult children unable to recover for their losses from the death of a parent due to medical negligence, the parents of an adult child cannot recover for their losses from the death of an adult child due to medical negligence.
If you or a loved one may have been injured as a result of dental malpractice in Florida or in another U.S. state, you should promptly find a dental malpractice lawyer in Florida or in your state for may investigate your dental malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a dental medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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