Wrongful Death is an area of law that deals with seeking monetary damages on behalf of the survivors of someone who has died as a result of wrongful or improper conduct of another person or corporation. Wrongful death is an area of Tort Law and the individual statutes which govern it’s application vary from state to state. In some states, wrongful death suits are decided entirely by juries. In Florida, legislature has laid forth specific guidelines regarding who is eligible for compensation in the event of a wrongful death. These are covered by the Florida Wrongful Death Act. This act provides specific guidelines concerning who may file a wrongful death suit in the state of Florida.
In general, parties considered able to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit include family members and next of kin, with certain exceptions. In the absence of a legal exception, the surviving beneficiaries may sue any person or corporation who caused the injuries that led to death.
If someone dies under a doctor’s care and the doctor is found to be at fault, that is grounds for a wrongful death suit. If a company’s negligent safety standards results in an employee’s exposure to toxic materials which result in their death, that is grounds for a wrongful death suit. There are many, many other examples.
In some cases, wrongful death may be both a criminal and civil matter. If a criminal court finds someone guilty of killing another party, then civil action may be taken afterwards. However, criminal proceedings are not necessary for there to be a basis for a civil case. The plaintiff in a civil wrongful death suit only needs to prove their case by a “preponderance” of evidence. Civil court is not governed by the same “beyond a reasonable doubt” laws which preside over criminal proceedings.
When faced with the loss of a loved one, instigating legal procedures can be one of the last things you want to deal with. However, wrongful death lawsuit money can be not only a helpful, but often a very necessary supplement to survivors struggling to deal with the often very real and tangible effects of their bereavement. A good wrongful death attorney can help walk you through the process from beginning to end and ease some of the burden during a trying time.
We have over 20 years experience practicing wrongful death law in St. Pete, Tampa, Clearwater and the surrounding areas. If you have lost someone due to the negligence or misconduct of a third party, contact us for a free consultation to find out how we can put our experience to work to help you.