St. Petersburg Wrongful Death Statute
Florida Statutes section 678.18 states that when a person's death "is caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract" of another person or some other entity, the estate of the deceased person may bring a civil lawsuit in Florida's courts, seeking a legal remedy for that death and the losses stemming from that death. Wrongful death claims may arise from any accident or intentional act including fatal car crashes, death by hospital malpractice, dangerous premises, defective products, and aircraft accidents.
What is a St. Petersburg Wrongful Death?
In personal injury cases that result in death, the family members and loved ones of the decedent often wonder if they can file a lawsuit. These types of cases are known as wrongful death lawsuits, and they are a common kind of personal injury case. After facing the death of a loved one, it can be difficult to know where to begin. There are questions common to many wrongful death cases including:
• What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death is the legal term that describes the death of someone that results from someone else’s wrongdoing, negligence, or intentional action. In a wrongful death case, the person who has died can obviously not file a lawsuit him or herself. Instead, that person’s spouse, parents, children, or even other family members can file a lawsuit for wrongful death.
• Is a wrongful death claim the same as murder?
It can be easy to confuse wrongful death lawsuits with murder, or other types of crimes because both types of situations involve someone dying as a result of someone else’s actions. When you are talking about a wrongful death claim, it is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal case. Even though the person responsible for the death of someone might be criminally liable for the actions that caused the death, a wrongful death case is not the same thing as a criminal charge. It is also important to note that under the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, an individual cannot be charged with the same crime twice. Wrongful death is a civil wrong, known as a tort, that is prosecuted in a civil lawsuit separate and apart from a criminal lawsuit. As a result, neither proceeding affects the other and a person can be found innocent in a criminal proceeding and still be liable for wrongful death.
• What are damages in a wrongful death lawsuit?
In any civil lawsuit, the person filing the lawsuit is asking a court to order the wrongdoer to pay compensation for the damage the wrongdoer caused. In wrongful death cases, these damages can arise for many reasons. In addition to economic damages, wrongful death cases can also involve damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship or affection, and loss of consortium (sexual relations) for the spouse of the deceased person.
• How do I win a wrongful death lawsuit?
There is no single way to answer this type of question. Any wrongful death lawsuit must be filed in accordance with Florida laws. There are many procedural and substantive rules that apply to these kinds of cases, and only an experienced St. Petersburg wrongful death lawyer can give you advice. To be successful with a wrongful death claim it is necessary to demonstrate the following:
- The loved one's death was caused by the defendant or that the defendant's actions or lack of action contributed to the death.
- The death occurred as a direct result of the defendant's negligence or wrongdoing.
- The decedent's death affected family members, survivors or dependents financially.
- The loved one's death resulted in expenses or monetary damages.
St. Petersburg Wrongful Death Attorneys
If a loved one was killed as a result of the actions of another person or business entity, it is important to speak to a St. Petersburg wrongful death attorney to discuss the complex legal issues that apply to these types of cases. The attorneys at the Dolman Law Group are skilled wrongful death attorneys and they are ready to review and evaluate your case. Contact Dolman Law Group today at 727-222-6922 to schedule your free legal case evaluation and consultation.
Dolman Law Group
1663 1St Ave S.
St. Petersburg, FL 33712