Back in 1994, O.J. Simpson was famously acquitted of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald L. Goldman. It was a case that captured the nation’s rapt attention, divided the nation by race, and put a spotlight on the power of celebrity and wealth in our criminal justice system. Indeed, most only remember that murder trial, and his acquittal.
Yet, there was another trial. It was a trial in which O.J. Simpson was found responsible for the death of Ms. Brown and Mr. Goldman.
That’s right, on one level, O.J. Simpson was found guilty of those murders. It was, however, in a civil wrongful death lawsuit, rather than a criminal murder trial.
In this article, we will discuss precisely what a wrongful death claim is, and more importantly, who is eligible for compensation in connection with a wrongful death claim.
If after reading this blog, you have additional questions about wrongful death claims or if your loved one was killed due to someone else’s negligence, then we welcome you to contact the seasoned wrongful death claims attorneys at Crary Buchanan. At Crary Buchanan, we are proud of our standard of excellence, which has allowed us to thrive as one of the oldest law firms on Florida’s Treasure Coast.
Our personal injury attorneys are passionate about giving you the highest quality representation. Call us today at 772-287-2600, or schedule a free estate planning to consult online with our online contact form.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death claim – like a criminal murder case – deals with the death of a person. However, unlike a criminal case, a wrongful death claim is handled in civil rather than criminal court. The kinds of relief you can obtain in civil court are different from the relief available in criminal court. Specifically, in criminal court, the goal is to punish an individual for wrongful conduct by taking away his or her liberty – either through a jail sentence or a less restrictive probation arrangement.
A civil court, by contrast, is focused on obtaining relief from a wrongful act by forcing them to pay money damages, and sometimes by enjoining (or stopping) someone from engaging in particular conduct in the future.
That leads to the second difference between wrongful death claims and a criminal murder case. With a criminal murder case, the accused if found guilty will be punished with prison. With wrongful death claims, the wrongful actor will be forced to pay money damages to compensate the victim’s loved ones.
Thus, in the O.J. Simpson case, for example, Simpson was required to pay millions of dollars to the families of the victims for compensatory and punitive damages.
When is a Wrongful Death Claim Appropriate to Raise?
Wrongful death claims are regulated by Florida law, meaning that certain circumstances need to exist in order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Thus, in Florida, if someone lost a loved one because that loved one was killed as a result of:
1. A wrongful act,
2. A breach or default of the contract, or
3. A negligent act
Then, Florida allows will allow you to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The personal representative of the estate of the person who died – typically a wrongful death claims lawyer – is actually the party that files a wrongful death claim. But that attorney files the wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased’s family members. Those family members include, under Florida law:
1. The spouse of the deceased;
2. The children of the deceased (who are under 25 years old); and
3. The parents of the deceased.
Other relatives may also have a legitimate claim in a wrongful death action – such as a niece or nephew who depended on the deceased for college tuition payments. Yet, claims of other relatives are secondary to the primary relatives listed above.
You Should Retain the Wrongful Death Claims Attorneys at Crary Buchanan to Help You.
Wrongful death claims can be complex because of the many considerations involved with such a claim under Florida law. Thus, you would be wise to make sure that you have an experienced wrongful death claims attorney in your corner. The experienced attorneys at Crary Buchanan have the know-how and resources to help you.
Vehicle accidents are one of the leading causes of personal injury and wrongful death in the nation. Many factors can contribute to a traffic accident, but as noted the primary reason is negligence. Drivers are negligent in a variety of ways. A driver who falls asleep may be considered negligent. When a careless driver causes an accident, you can pursue a personal injury claim or lawsuit.
It doesn’t matter what type of injury you sustained. You have the right to seek compensation if another driver caused you injury – even if you were partially responsible for the accident. Automobile and truck accident injuries can lead to a variety of expenses, and a personal injury claim can compensate you for these costs. Yet, you need the right legal advocate on your side to get full and fair compensation for your damages. If you or someone you love suffered an injury, speak with a Stuart, Martin County personal injury attorney from Crary Buchanan. We want to help you recover the money you need.
At Crary Buchanan, we are committed to providing clients with exceptional service in every aspect of personal injury law. You can depend upon our 85 years of experience in the Florida legal industry.
Our clients are more than case numbers; they are people. We recognize that you are an individual with unique needs and expectations. Our team is here to meet your need and exceed your expectations. When you work with us, you can have confidence that a caring legal advocate is on your side.
There is no need to be intimidated by making a personal injury claim after an auto or truck accident when you have the support of the talented team at Crary Buchanan. If you have more questions or want a dedicated personal injury attorney to help you, call 772-287-2600 or schedule a free consult online with our online contact form. You can always depend on Crary Buchanan for community, experience, and trust. Call today.