In the State of Florida, the term “accidental homicide” is not officially used in a legal capacity. The term “accidental homicide” could refer to the concept of “vehicular homicide” as outlined in Florida Statutes 782.071, where someone operating a vehicle unintentionally causes the death of another vehicle occupant or a pedestrian.
“Accidental homicide” could also refer to “manslaughter,” a term used to indicate that someone was fully or partially responsible (culpable) for the death of the victim based on the circumstances. Examples include someone behaving negligently by driving in a way that shows disregard for the safety of others on or around the road. So, someone who chose to drive heavily intoxicated or flagrantly ignored traffic laws and thereby caused the death of someone else might be charged with manslaughter pursuant to Florida Statutes 782.07.
Accidental homicides prosecuted as manslaughter correspond to a second degree felony charge. If convicted, maximum fines for second degree felonies do not exceed $10,000. Maximum prison terms for second degree felonies cannot exceed 15 years.
In additional to criminal charges, someone who commits an accidental homicide may face a wrongful death claim in civil court. Florida Statutes 768.16-768.26 govern proceedings for wrongful death torts. If the plaintiff is able to successfully prove fault through negligence, the defendant will be required to pay damages claims determined by a jury or judge.
Because the consequences of an accidental homicide incident can be great for those who unintentionally cause the death of someone else, legal representation can be the only recourse to lessen or avoid charges as well as civil penalties.