The short answer is yes.
A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit brought when someone dies as a result of another’s negligent or intentional act. A wrongful death claim takes the place of a personal injury claim the decedent might have filed if they had survived.
In cases where there is also criminal prosecution related to the fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that is separate from criminal charges. Even if the person who caused your loved one’s death is convicted of a crime, this will not involve any financial recovery for the family.
Civil Versus Criminal Cases
A wrongful death case is a civil suit designed to recover monetary damages for the family members of the deceased. The case is typically filed by the deceased’s executor or personal representative. It is usually easier to win a civil case because the standards for the burden of proof are lower.
If there is also a criminal prosecution, a prosecutor or district attorney will file these charges. In a criminal case, charges must be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If the defendant is found guilty, they may receive some type of punishment such as a fine or imprisonment, but there are no damages awarded to the deceased’s family.
A wrongful death case requires proof of the following:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the person who died.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- The defendant’s actions caused the wrongful death.
The plaintiff has to meet the burden of proof on all elements. But all that is needed is a preponderance of evidence, which only requires that there is more than a 50 percent chance the person committed the act.
Contact a Florida Wrongful Death Attorney
Attorney and former Florida State Trooper Coy H. Browning can talk over the details of your case and help you determine whether you should file a wrongful death lawsuit. We collect no fees from our clients unless we recover damages. Call us today to talk about your potential wrongful death claim.