Naples Wrongful Death Lawyer
The criminal justice system can prosecute someone who unlawfully takes the life of another person. But what about the family members of the victim? Criminal cases often provide little in terms of compensation for a family struggling to make ends meet. And in many cases, the killer may not actually face criminal charges–or be convicted even if they are prosecuted.
This is where a wrongful death lawsuit comes in. Wrongful death is a special type of civil claim allowed under Florida law and enables the immediate family members of a victim to seek justice on their behalf. An experienced Naples wrongful death lawyer can provide you with crucial legal advice and representation in this area. The Pendas Law Firm has handled many wrongful death claims, and we understand how to handle these cases with skill and care that respects your family’s trauma during this difficult period.
Wrongful Death Is Different Than Criminal Prosecution
A “wrongful death” is defined in Florida as any death “caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of any person.” Essentially, a wrongful death lawsuit represents the personal injury claim that the victim would have filed had they survived. In the victim’s absence, the wrongful death claim is actually filed by the personal representative of their estate, acting on behalf of their spouse, children, parents, or other immediate family members who were financially dependent on the victim.
It is important to understand the difference between a wrongful death claim and a criminal case arising from someone’s death. These are considered separate matters in Florida. In other words, someone can face a wrongful death lawsuit even if they were never criminally charged or convicted in connection with the victim’s death. Indeed, many wrongful death cases arise from negligent conduct that does not rise to the level of criminal activity.
There is also a lower burden of proof in wrongful death cases. Like all civil claims, the estate in a wrongful death case need only prove the defendant’s responsibility by a “preponderance of the evidence.” In contrast, a Florida prosecutor must prove their case “beyond a reasonable doubt” in order to secure a murder or manslaughter conviction.
And of course, the primary goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to obtain compensation rather than send the defendant to prison. Florida’s wrongful death law specifies the types of monetary damages a jury can award, including:
- the victim’s final medical and funeral expenses;
- compensation for the survivors’ loss of support and services;
- if there is a surviving spouse, compensation for their pain and suffering and the loss of the victim’s companionship; and
- if there are surviving minor children, compensation for the loss of their deceased parent’s companionship, instruction, and guidance.
Contact The Pendas Law Firm Today
By their very nature, wrongful death claims are sensitive matters. Grieving families are still struggling to recover from the sudden and unexpected loss of their loved one. And while money cannot undo the damage, it can provide critical resources as the survivors start to rebuild their lives. So if you need to speak with a qualified Naples wrongful death lawyer, contact the Pendas Law Firm today to schedule a consultation.