Force v. Am. Family Mut. Ins. Co.Annotate this Case
Billy Joe Force, the deceased, died in a collision with another vehicle driven by Jeffrey Brown. The deceased’s estranged spouse, Linda Force, and the deceased's three nonmarital minor children (the children), sought compensation from Brown and two insurance companies, claiming that Brown’s negligence caused the deceased’s death. The circuit court granted summary judgment to the defendants, concluding that Linda Force had no compensable damages under the wrongful death statutes and that the children did not have a cause of action for wrongful death. The children appealed. The defendants argued on appeal that because Linda Force was still living, she was a “surviving spouse” under the wrongful death statutes, that her recovery for the wrongful death of the deceased was zero, and that, consequently, the children did not have any set-aside from Linda Force’s recovery. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court against the children and in favor of the defendants, holding that the children had a cause of action against the defendants for wrongful death as if Linda Force were not alive at the death of the deceased.