Wrongful Death: Civil or Criminal?

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Wrongful death cases take place when a loved one dies due to someone’s negligence and as a result, the deceased person’s family members sue the individual who is liable. Wrongful death cases can take a lot of different forms, from a car accident caused by reckless driving to a pre-meditated murder. So, are all wrongful death cases classified the same, either civil or criminal? Or do some get civil and some get criminal? Let’s take a closer look at the break down of how wrongful death cases are broken up.

Criminal Cases

Wrongful death cases can be tried as a criminal case. A wrongful death is when your loved one has died due to someone else’s lack of responsibility or bad choices. Therefore, things like murder can be classified as wrongful death. Which cases can be tried as criminal change from state to state, but typically things like involuntary manslaughter, voluntary manslaughter, and murder or homicide are criminal across the board. Criminal wrongful death cases often result in jail time. Hiring a wrongful death lawyer can help you figure out if you are needing to prepare for a criminal or civil lawsuit, which may change based on where you live and the circumstances you are in.

Civil Cases

All the other types of wrongful death cases are tried as civil cases. Again, a wrongful death lawyer can help you prepare for this kind of case. If the defendant is found guilty in a civil case, they will not have to go to jail or receive anything on their record. Civil cases will end in monetary compensation to the affected families. Defendants will be responsible for paying for all types of losses the family collects like medical bills, funeral services, the pain and suffering of the family, the loss of the deceased person’s income, and so much more. The burden of proof is also a lot easier to prove in civil cases than criminal cases, meaning it is easier to win in a civil case.

Each wrongful death case is different, which makes it hard to specifically say which kinds will go to civil and which will go to criminal. Courts will take into account all the information involved in the accident, the accident itself, the intent, the damages and more. This is why hiring a wrongful death lawyer is so important. A wrongful death lawyer will be able to help you get the representation and compensation that you deserve. Contact and meet with a Robert J. DeBry and Associates wrongful death lawyer today to discuss options when it comes to filing a wrongful death case.


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