There is no doubt that accidents involving death are devastating and traumatic. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FHSMV) website, a shocking 2494 people were killed as a result of car accidents in 2013, with alcohol suspected or confirmed fatalities accounting for a staggering 52%. If you have been involved in an accident in Clearwater where someone lost their life, then it is important to seek legal representation as soon as you possibly can.
Many people wrongly assume that because they had no intent to cause death to another person, they will not face criminal charges. However, your involvement in an accident may mean that you are held responsible and therefore liable for all or part of the damage and injury caused. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the accident involving death, you could face a second-degree or first-degree felony charge, which can result in large fines and a lengthy prison sentence.
If you or a loved one has been accused of being involved in an accident that has resulted in death, then it is so important to seek legal advice. At The Law Place, we have a highly-skilled legal team with an abundance of experience in handling cases involving death. Our experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyers offer a free consultation where they will assess your case, give comprehensive legal advice, and extend support. Call us today at (941) 444-4444 and get started with your case.
Negligence Under Florida Law
Negligence is when a person fails to exercise the appropriate care that is expected to be exercised in those specific circumstances. In simpler terms, when a person fails to act with proper care. When it comes to accidents involving death, negligence is normally a major factor.
If you are involved in a vehicle crash, then the prosecution will seek to establish that your actions were negligent or showed reckless disregard for the safety of others. In Clearwater, as in the State of Florida, it is a legal requirement to act with a duty of care to others.
The prosecution must prove a number of elements beyond a reasonable doubt in order to achieve a conviction of negligence. These elements include:
- The legal duty to use due care – Duty of care is recognized as a legal requirement which states that a person must meet a certain standard of conduct to protect others.
- Breach of duty of care – Failure by the defendant to meet this standard of conduct.
- Causation – The connection between the defendant’s negligent actions and the injury or accidental death of the victim.
- Damage and injury – The damage, injury, and undue loss that was caused as a result of the breach of their duty of care.
Penalties for an Accident Involving Death in Clearwater, FL.
Many factors are considered when determining which felony charge is issued to a defendant. Circumstances surrounding the accident involving death will contribute to the decision, as well as any prior convictions that the defendant may have. The felony charges that you may face are:
- Third-degree felony – If convicted of a third-degree felony, then you may face up to five years in prison and $5000 payable in fines.
- Second-degree felony – Punishments for a second-degree felony include up to fifteen years in prison and $10,000 payable in fines.
- First-degree felony – A first-degree felony is the most serious charge you can be convicted of. Punishments for a first-degree felony include $10,000 payable in fines and up to thirty years behind bars.
It is worthwhile noting that Florida Statute 775.084 highlights that the Florida legal system operates under a repeat offender sentencing scheme, more commonly known as ‘three strikes and you’re out.’ This, therefore, means that if you have previously been convicted of a felony, then you could face an even greater prison sentence.
Seeking the advice and legal representation of an experienced Clearwater personal injury lawyer will ensure you receive the best possible outcome. A lawyer can help support and guide you through the legal process and will work to develop a strong defense strategy that can hold up in court.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, our Clearwater wrongful death lawyer is here to fight for justice on your behalf. With compassionate expertise and a track record of success, we’ll help you navigate the legal complexities and seek the compensation your family deserves.
Possible Defences Against an Accident Involving Death in Clearwater
A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer will be able to build an adequate defense strategy on your behalf. A strong defense strategy may be used in court to help reduce or even eliminate any penalties and punishments you may be facing. Possible defense strategies that could be used include:
- That you were wrongfully accused of the crime.
- There may be evidence that can prove that your actions did not cause the death of the deceased.
- That you were not in the right state of mind at the time of the accident, due to no fault of your own.
- Comparative negligence – This refers to the deceased and whether they were somewhat responsible for their own death.
Contact The Law Place in Clearwater Today!
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident involving death, then it is strongly recommended that you seek advice as soon as possible. At The Law Place, we have a team of highly skilled attorneys with over 75 years of collective experience in a variety of practice areas. Our lawyers pride themselves on developing a trusting and honest attorney-client relationship with all of their customers and will work to make sure you receive the best possible outcome.
Our Clearwater phone lines are open around the clock, so you can call us at any time of day and receive a free consultation with one of our skilled personal injury lawyers. Call us today at (941) 444-4444.