Justice After Death

Robert Champion, a 26-year-old drum major at Florida A & M University (FAMU) died in 2011 as a result of a brutal fraternity hazing ritual. Champion’s family sued FAMU under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act. FAMU argued that it is not responsible because Champion entered into the beating ritual voluntarily.

Florida enacted its Wrongful Death Act specifically for cases like Champion’s. The statute explains, It is the public policy of the state to shift the losses when wrongful death occurs from the survivors of the decedent to the wrongdoer.

When a person negligently or intentionally kills another, the Wrongful Death Act allows the victim’s family or estate to sue the wrongdoer for the death of the victim. Survivors may receive compensation for the loss of support and services from the deceased, including the following:

  • Loss of a spouse’s companionship and protection
  • Mental pain and suffering related to loss of spouse from date of injury
  • Loss of parental companionship, instruction and guidance
  • Mental pain and suffering for loss of a deceased child from date of injury
  • Medical and funeral expenses

The specifics of who may be considered a plaintiff in a wrongful death case is further spelled out in the Act. The suit itself is usually brought by the decedent’s personal representative on behalf of the deceased person’s estate and surviving family members.

The Wrongful Death Act cannot make right the wrong that led to a loved one dying, but it can bring a measure of justice to those left behind. If someone you loved died due to the wrongful acts of another, contact us for an evaluation of your rights.

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