How do you define wrongful death, legally?
Has a loved one been involved in an accident? Every year 1.2 million people in America die in car accidents. Whether accidental due to negligence or deliberate, it can be a difficult thing to come to terms with but there’s no need to suffer in silence.
Whether it was an accident at a workplace or a violent agreement with their ex-partner, there are numerous ways of getting the compensation and resolution that you deserve.
Here’s what you need to know about how to define wrongful death.
Criminal Vs. Civil Cases
It’s important to differentiate between criminal and civil cases. The state prosecutes criminal cases where the law has been broken regardless of the cooperation of the parties involved. If, for example, someone, assaults their partner and reports this to the police but then withdraws their cooperation because they make it up, the police will still act. The accused still broke the law.
In civil cases, the plaintiff has the right to sue the defendant to a civil court in order to receive compensation on top of the criminal case.
In wrongful death cases, the criminal court can administer punishment to the company, person or people responsible for the unlawful death such as a prison sentence or even the death penalty. However, a civil court can offer a financial resolution to the victim’s family for pain and suffering.
Negligence Vs. Intentional Death
One of the first things that needs to be established is whether the death was due to negligence or it was intentional. This will often depend on the individual case and circumstances. Both are serious offenses. Negligence in safety practices can result in a company being shut down, fined heavily and having to review its practices.
To prove intentional death a court would also have to prove intention. This could take the form of messages where the accused makes clear their intention to kill the other person or a conversation they had with other workers.
It could also involve scenarios where the only intention the accused had was to commit a murder as that was the only outcome of their actions.
To read up more about this be sure to read this wrongful death lawsuit article which can answer more of your questions.
Can You File?
There is a myth that America is an overly litigious nation but, in reality, filing a wrongful death suit is about getting the justice you deserve. It is not you, as a loved one, who files a wrongful death suit per se but the representatives of the estate of the deceased. This is the person administering the estate which is decided on by a will or in lieu of a will, the probate process.
A surviving spouse can take action and so too can parents of minors. Marriage isn’t always a prerequisite for bringing a wrongful death lawsuit in some states, being romanticly linked can be enough.
Define Wrongful Death? It Depends on the Circumstances
How to define wrongful death? It’s complicated. Wrong death varies not just from state-to-state but also on the exact circumstances of the case. Often how it is defined depends on whether there is evidence of ‘intention’ and the outcome of any ongoing criminal cases.
If you are interested in reading more about how to define wrongful death or how to file a wrongful death suit then be sure to check out the rest of our site.