Wrongful death is when a person loses their life through the actions of another person. For example, if a person is murdered after a domestic dispute this could be possible grounds for legal action on a civil level.
Wrongful death can be intentional or unintentional. The simple fact that a person causes harm to another is enough to sue in court for wrongful death.
Wrongful death will almost always be dealt with on a criminal level through a court of law. However, aside from the criminal charges that may follow a person can also be sued for wrongful death.
Wrongful death cases can be difficult and they are almost always handled by a qualified attorney. The attorney may represent an individual or family who plans to bring a wrongful death suit against another.
A wrongful death action may take a significant amount of time before the case is actually heard in front of a judge and a jury. The legal paperwork involved can be time-consuming, to say the least. In addition, witnesses may have to be summoned to testify in a wrongful death case.
Wrongful death cases are considered a civil matter and it is quite different from proving a criminal action. Beyond a reasonable doubt does not apply where a civil wrongful death action is concerned. A jury must only believe that a defendant probably did commit the offense.
If a defendant is found liable in a wrongful death case the penalty can be a monetary gain for the plaintiff initiating the lawsuit. Due to the fact that a wrongful death action is a civil matter the person may be required to pay the suing party a lump sum of money to make restitution for their unacceptable actions.
Sometimes the jury will determine the amount of money that a defendant must pay if the wrongful death case is proven. However, if a jury is unable to make a decision concerning a monetary award then the judge will more than likely make the decision.
Even if a defendant is acquitted in a criminal case, that does not preclude the defendant from being sued in civil court for wrongful death. There are instances when the person’s negligence alone caused the wrongful death, though the situation is tragic, sometimes it is not criminally so.
Once a wrongful death lawsuit is settled a judgment is issued and in some cases, property and assets may be seized in an attempt to satisfy the judgment. If a defendant has no money or assets then the plaintiff may end up never receiving any money for their painful ordeal.
Wrongful death claims and lawsuits can be complex and it is recommended that an experienced wrongful death attorney be consulted or retained for this process, contact us today for a free case analysis.