Kurzban Kurzban Tetzeli and Pratt P.A.

Florida man's family sues neighbor for wrongful death

It appeared that he was trying to simply calm the situation down when the Florida man approached his neighbor who was arguing with a skateboarder. The neighbor had been in previous fights with skateboarders in the neighborhood. The altercation escalated and the neighbor flashed a gun.

The man was shot and killed as a result. Though the tragic incident occurred last fall, just last week the man's family filed a lawsuit against the neighbor, claiming wrongful death.

The neighbor was the man's 70-year-old neighbor. He has been criminally charged with manslaughter, improper exhibition of a firearm, and carrying a firearm openly; he has pled not guilty to all three charges. He was released on bail but is not able to return home, most likely to avoid contact with the man's family.

According to investigators, the man was outside of his home with his young daughter when he saw his neighbor yelling at the skateboarder. The man approached the neighbor and exchanged words, witnesses said. After the neighbor revealed a gun under his shirt, the man walked away to go back to playing with his daughter.

Witnesses told investigators that the neighbor kept yelling at the man, who turned around. It was then that the neighbor dove at him; a scuffle ensued and the gun went off. The man was killed in the confrontation.

It is difficult to even imagine what it was like for the man's daughter to witness her father's shooting. The man's family has to deal with the emotional trauma and suffering that comes with losing a loved one. But even more so, his family also has to take care of things like funeral expenses.

Families of victims of fatal accidents can be compensated for their loss through a wrongful death claim. For this man's family, an award in their favor will help cover funeral costs and other expenses that likely arose in the wake of his death. The money won't bring him back, but it can help his family move forward.

Source: Tampa Bay Online, "Family of Valrico shooting victim suing suspect," Tom Brennan, 24 March 2011

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