Dolman Law Group is an award winning Clearwater car accident and personal injury law firm. Matthew Dolman has been selected as a Florida Super Lawyers in 2013, 2014 and 2015 by his colleagues. Mr. Dolman has been nominated as a top 100 trial attorney and top 40 under 40 by National Trial Lawyers. He is a lifetime member of both the Million Dollar and Multi-Million Dollar Advocacy Forum.
Friday, May 22, 2015
Wrongful Death After a Violent Crime
As reported1 by the Florida
Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), 970 people lost their lives in the state
due to violent crime in 2013 alone. Though this number is the lowest since
2005, it still means that almost one thousand families were left mourning the
sudden and needless death of loved ones. Though these families may attend the
criminal trial of the perpetrator and see them sent to prison, surviving family
members are often left with financial and emotional issues following a violent
The courts recognize the issues that surviving
loved ones face and Florida law2 allows them to file a
wrongful death claim against the person who was responsible for the death.
Though wrongful death claims are usually associated with car accidents or other
unintentional deaths, this type of case also can arise following a violent act.
If your family member has been killed, you likely have a strong case for
wrongful death and should consult with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as
possible to discuss how you can recover.
Separate criminal and civil cases
Following a homicide, law enforcement officers will
hopefully be able to arrest the responsible individuals, who will then usually
face criminal charges issued by the prosecutors. Homicide cases often go to
trial, where the prosecutor will have to prove that the defendant committed the
homicide beyond a reasonable doubt in order to secure a conviction. A convicted
offender will then face penal consequences such as a long-term prison sentence
or even the death penalty. While these criminal consequences can be severe, a
criminal case often does little in the way of compensation for the surviving
A wrongful death suit is filed in civil court and
is completely separate from any case that takes place in criminal court.
However, much of the evidence used in the criminal case can be also used in the
wrongful death case. An attorney who understands this type of violent crime
wrongful death claim will know how to use the prosecutor's evidence and a
criminal conviction to help surviving family receive a proper financial award.
Additionally, even if the perpetrator is found “not
guilty” in criminal court due to a lack of evidence, it is still possible that
surviving family members may win in a wrongful death claim. This is because the
burden of proof is considerably lower in a civil wrongful death case than in a
criminal case. Because of the possibility that a convicted offender will lose
their freedom or even their life, a criminal jury must find that a defendant is
guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the highest burden of proof in any
type of legal case in the United States. In a wrongful death case,no one's life is at stake and a win only has
financial implications. For this reason, family members must only prove the
wrongful death by a preponderance of the evidence, which means it is “more
likely than not” that the wrongful death occurred. This often makes it easier
to recover in a wrongful death case even if a defendant was not convicted.
Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney at
the Dolman Law Group for a free consultation today
Though no amount of compensation will ever turn
back time or bring your loved one back to you, it ca help your family cover
expenses related to the death and other bills after losing the support of the
deceased individual. Wrongful death claims can further bring about a greater
sense of justice and closure, especially in tragic cases of violent homicides.
However, you only get one chance at a wrongful death case, so you do not want
to risk losing your chance to hold the offender accountable by not having
adequate representation. At the Dolman Law Group in Clearwater, Florida, our
team of lawyers has extensive experienced successfully handling wrongful death
claims under Florida law. We understand the type of evidence that must be
presented to prove your claim and have the resources necessary to gather such
evidence. We have the skill and ability to handle any legal issues that may
arise, so please call our office at 727-451-6900 to discuss your case for free
Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33756 (727) 451-6900