Do Florida Parents Have Rights When Their Teen’s Suicide Was Preventable?
The relationship between a patient and mental health professional is one of the most intensely personal in all of medicine, so it is not surprising that the implications of psychiatric malpractice can be devastating. For parents of troubled teens, the outlook is especially concerning. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), suicide is the second-leading cause of death for individuals aged 15 to 24 years old. Because the causes include mental illness, psychological factors, and social struggles, parents rely on physicians to provide care intended to avoid such a horrific outcome.
Unfortunately, health care provider actions and decision-making can lead to tragic results when they fall below this standard. As a parent, you are understandably devastated by your child’s suicide and know that legal action will never reverse the outcome. However, holding a negligent physician accountable may offer some closure, and a Miami preventable suicide lawyer can assist with your remedies. Some information may help you understand the basics.
Wrongful Death Laws in Florida
The starting point for understanding your rights is the legal concept of wrongful death, which is a type of personal injury claim. Because the victim was killed instead of merely being hurt, the process and requirements are very specific. For one, only the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate has standing to bring a wrongful death claim under Florida law.
In addition, to recover compensation, you must prove that:
- A person was killed;
- The victim’s death was the result of intentional, reckless, or negligent misconduct of another individual or entity; and
- You are a surviving family member who was harmed by the victim’s passing.
Preventable Suicides as Medical Malpractice
With respect to #2, the specific act of misconduct that you must prove is medical malpractice by your teen’s treating physician. Florida defines medical negligence as a doctor’s deviation from what would be considered acceptable care, treatment, and decision-making in the medical field. In the context of preventable suicide, a health care provider may deviate from this standard by:
- Failure to assess and act on risk factors for suicide;
- Errors in prescribing and administering medications; or
- Neglecting to refer the patient for specialized care of emotional and mental disorders.
Compensation for Parents in Wrongful Death Cases
These cases aim to compensate surviving family members who lost a loved one, as opposed to the victim who died. For parents who lost a teen, it may be challenging to recover damages for financial contributions and support due to the age of the victim. However, you may still qualify for your emotional trauma, loss of relationship, medical costs, and funeral expenses.
Our Florida Preventable Suicide Attorneys Provide Legal Help During Difficult Times
This overview of medical malpractice claims based on preventable suicide is useful, but you will certainly want customized advice on your options. Our team at Freidin Brown, P.A. can explain the details after reviewing your circumstances, so please contact our offices in Miami or Fort Myers, FL to set up a free consultation today.