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Wrongful Death Lawsuit Filed in Connection with Fatal Scuba Diving Expedition


Last February tragedy struck in the Atlantic Ocean off of the Florida Keys when the body of 37-year-old Rob Stewart, a filmmaker from Toronto, was found after a fatal scuba diving expedition. Now, a couple months later, his family has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Stewart’s dive organizers and others claiming that their negligence caused the filmmaker’s untimely death.

According to CTV News Toronto Stewart was a documentary filmmaker who was filming a shark documentary off the coast of Florida at the time of his death. Allegedly both Stewart and his dive organizer surfaced during a shark filming excursion with breathing difficulties. In their wrongful death lawsuit Stewart’s family claims that the dive organizer was brought back on board the dive boat while Stewart was allowed to slip away and perish only to be found three days later approximately 300 feet from where he was last spotted on the surface. The attorney representing Stewart’s family claims that Stewart’s death was “a preventable tragedy that was going to happen to someone.”

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of legal claim filed by the surviving family members of someone who passed away due to the wrongful or negligent act of another person(s). Wrongful death statutes vary a bit from state to state and differ slightly when it comes to which family members are entitled to file such a suit and what types of damages a successful suit can yield. Florida’s Wrongful Death Act is continued in chapter 768 of the Florida Statutes and notes that a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in Florida “When the death of a person is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person… and the event would have entitled to person injured to maintain an action and recover damages if death had not ensured…” In other words, if the deceased individual would have been entitled to bring a personal injury lawsuit against the person who wronged them had they survived then a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed based on the deceased’s death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Florida?

Under Florida’s Wrongful Death Act only the deceased’s personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida, however, this lawsuit is filed for the benefit of the deceased’s survivors and estate. Here the term “survivors” refers to the deceased’s surviving:

  • Spouse,
  • Children,
  • Parents, and
  • Blood relatives and adoptive brothers and sisters who were partly or wholly dependent on the deceased for support or services.

Consult With a Local Wrongful Death Attorney

If you’ve recently lost a loved one due to the negligence or wrongful act of another we are deeply sorry for your loss. Here at the Madonna Law Group we understand how challenging it can be to pursue a wrongful death claim in the wake of losing a family member and strive to provide our clients with a measure of justice during this trying time. If you would like more information about filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Florida contact our Dade City office today to schedule a confidential consultation with one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys.



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