Pin It

Making Decisions About Filing Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims are civil actions that are filed when an individual dies and there is reason to believe the death occurred due to the actions or negligence of another person or entity. Considered to be separate from a criminal action, this type of claim is usually made by a relative. Choosing to pursue this action is not something to be taken lightly. Here are some of the points that a lawyer will often want to discuss before moving forward with filing this type of civil suit.

What Is Happening With the Criminal Case?

Assuming that there is already a criminal case in progress, the lawyer is likely to advise the client to wait for the outcome of that case before taking any action. In some instances, the verdict in the criminal case will plead guilty and the person responsible for the death will receive a sentence that is in line with the severity of the event.

Since it takes a great deal of money to pursue a criminal case, it would make sense to look into the idea of wrongful death claims as a way to secure some of the assets of the guilty party and make sure the proceeds from the sale of those assets are used to settle the debts. In some cases, the money can also be used to provide for the spouse and any minor children that have lost their loved one.

Even if the criminal case is dismissed or if the party is found not guilty, that will not rule out the possibility of filing wrongful death suit. Different laws apply to civil cases, and some of the evidence not allowed during the criminal trial may be admissible at the civil trial. There are a number of instances in which the accused party did not receive a criminal conviction, but was found guilty in a civil action.

Weighing the Consequences

While the desire for justice is strong, the lawyer will advise the client to be prepared for the emotional toll that such an action can take. The case can also go on for an extended amount of time. Once the client understands what can happen, it will be easier to make the right decision.

For clients who need guidance, visit and arrange a consultation. Doing so will make it much easier to know how to proceed.