Florida law allows a civil wrongful death lawsuit to be brought at the same time that a defendant is being prosecuted for manslaughter or DUI manslaughter.
- the wrongful death case is a civil case
- the manslaughter case would be a criminal case.
Always speak to an experienced car accident lawyer after an accident resulting in a serious injury or the death of a loved one.
Wrongful death – a civil case:
Wrongful death is a cause of action for a lawsuit that might be filed after the negligence or wrongful conduct of one person causes the death of another person. Every state has its own wrongful death statute. Florida’s is found at Florida Statute section 768.16, et seq. The act or failure to act that causes the wrongful death of somebody else can be intentional or unintentional.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action for damages as opposed to a criminal prosecution. If a person is found guilty of causing a wrongful death, Florida law doesn’t allow him or her to be sentenced to prison. Only money damages can be awarded.
Manslaughter in Florida – a Criminal Offense:
Manslaughter is a criminal offense in Florida pursuant to Florida Statute section 782.07.01. It can be voluntary when the death of a person results from an intentional act, or it can be involuntary when the death of a person is caused by the culpable negligence of somebody else. In the case of a motor vehicle accident, involuntary manslaughter might be properly charged after a victim died from injuries suffered in that accident. The crime involves a homicide but not a murder. Here’s an example of how that can happen.
A recent crash involving a manslaughter charge:
A 35-year-old Tampa woman was arrested and charged with DUI manslaughter in March 2020 when she lost control of her vehicle and crashed into the side of another vehicle on Adamo Drive. On her first breath test, her alcohol concentration was .143, while her second test was. .137. Under Florida law, there is a presumption that a person is intoxicated with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 or more. The woman was charged at the Hillsborough County Jail and subsequently released on bail. DUI manslaughter in Florida is governed by Florida Statute 316.193. A person can be charged accordingly even if his or her blood alcohol concentration was under .08 at the time of an accident, so long as the prosecution can show that he or she was impaired by alcohol, drugs or any combination thereof. The crime is punishable by up to 15 years in prison and a fine not to exceed $10,000.
The Burden of Proof in Wrongful Death Cases:
One of the reasons that double jeopardy is ruled out under is because the burden of proof in a civil case is substantially lower than in a criminal case. When a person is charged criminally, he or she must be proved guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a civil case, the burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence. What that means is that the claimant’s version of events is merely more likely true than not true.
Contact a Tampa Accident Lawyer.
If you sustained a serious injury or a loved one was killed in an an accident in Tampa, contact an attorney for a free consultation.
Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We will answer your questions, make recommendations and provide you with a free, confidential evaluation of your injury claim, all without obligation to use our legal services.
Everyone at Hancock Injury Attorneys, from our receptionist and paralegals to our attorneys, is committed to providing our clients with exceptional legal representation and client service.
Hancock Injury Attorneys has been representing clients in Tampa and surrounding communities since 1996.