Earlier this month, a state appellate court issued a written opinion in a Florida wrongful death case requiring the court to determine, among other things, if the plaintiff qualified as a “surviving spouse.” Ultimately, the court concluded that, although the plaintiff was not married to the accident victim at the time of his injury, the relevant inquiry was whether they were married at the time of death.
The plaintiff was driving with her fiancé when a car pulled out in front of them. The plaintiff’s fiancé swerved to avoid a collision, but in so doing lost control of the vehicle. The car rolled once or twice before coming to a rest in a roadside ditch.
The plaintiff was not injured in the accident. However, her fiancé was immediately rendered a quadriplegic. Her fiancé filed a personal injury lawsuit against the driver, as well as the pizza-delivery chain for which he was working at the time of the accident. A few months later, the plaintiff and her fiancé were married. Before the plaintiff’s fiancé’s case concluded, he died due to injuries related to those that he sustained in the accident.