How does a wrongful death suit work?

Chances are, you’ve heard the term “wrongful death” before, but, like many legal terms, you might not be sure exactly what it means and how it works. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the definition of wrongful death and how it works in the courts.

Wrongful death suits are a civil action that attempts to hold an individual or group responsible for someone’s death. It can be like a criminal trial, but the standard of proof is lower. A great example is the famous case of O.J. Simpson, who, in the criminal case, was found not guilty in his wife’s murder. That’s because the prosecution failed to convince the jury of his guilt. However, in the subsequent wrongful death civil trial, Simpson was found responsible for the deaths and made to pay the families for the loss of their loved ones.

There are a few criteria that must be in place to bring a wrongful death suit:

  • Someone is dead.
  • The death was the result of someone else’s negligence in the case.
  • The surviving family members are having monetary issues because of the death.

Wrongful death suits can be brought in a number of different circumstances, including, but not limited to:

  • A car or airplane accident.
  • Medical malpractice, meaning a medical professional or hospital caused the death.
  • A death that occurred during an activity that was supposed to be supervised.
  • A death that was caused by hazardous occupational environments.
  • Any death brought about by criminal behavior.

If you have questions or concerns about whether you can file a wrongful death lawsuit, it may be in your best interests to speak with an attorney.

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