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Criminal conviction not necessary for wrongful death lawsuit

When a family in Florida loses a loved one in circumstances that involve the negligence of another party, the close relatives may have questions about pursuing claims for financial relief. This can be done by filing a wrongful death lawsuit in a civil court. Such a claim can be filed regardless of the outcome of a criminal case that might have followed the incident.

While a criminal charge requires guilt beyond a reasonable doubt to obtain a conviction, a civil lawsuit is based upon a measure of proof known as a preponderance of the evidence. This essentially means that the plaintiff must present enough convincing evidence to tip the scales of justice in the plaintiff's favor. For this reason, even a person who was not convicted in criminal court may be found liable for monetary damages in civil court.

The goal of a wrongful death claim is to obtain compensation for economic and non-economic damages -- based on the laws of the state. Documented losses that can be claimed typically include medical expenses for treatment prior to the loved one's death and the costs related to end-of-life arrangements. Loss of support may be sought, including lost income of the deceased and the loss of potential inheritance. The loss of services, affection, love, nurturing and care may also form part of the claim along with pain and suffering of the surviving family members.

Various reasons exist for securing the services of an experienced Florida wrongful death attorney. Along with explaining the applicable laws and the statute of limitations, he or she can help with establishing negligence, determining whom to name as defendants and documenting the damages to claim. Furthermore, a lawyer can navigate the ensuing legal proceedings and work toward achieving a monetary judgment to cover documented losses.

Source:, "Wrongful Death and Liability Policies", Marianne Bonner, Accessed on Feb. 9, 2018

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