Wrongful death is a cause of action in civil court that may be brought against a person who is responsible for another person's death. A deceased person may not instigate legal action, however that does not mean that a person responsible for a death should be free of any civil liability. Since the deceased person may not bring a lawsuit, a wrongful death claim is brought by the spouse, parent, other family member or loved one of the deceased. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is first to reimburse the family for any medical bills, funeral expenses, or future wages lost because of the death. However, the family can also be compensated for any pain and suffering they experienced due to the wrongful death, as well as any pain and suffering the deceased experienced prior to his or her death. If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, contact a Fayette County wrongful death attorney today to schedule a consultation.
Though wrongful death claims can follow accidents or acts of negligence, they also commonly follow acts of criminal violence that result in death. Often following a homicide, people think of trials in criminal court, not civil court. However, a person responsible for a homicide may face both criminal and civil liability. Even if a person has been found guilty of homicide in criminal court, the family of the deceased may still recover for losses and pain and suffering in the civil realm.
In fact, even if a defendant is found not guilty on the criminal side, family members may still succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit. This is because the burden of proof is lower in the civil action. Even if a jury does not find the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, a civil jury may still find the defendant responsible by a preponderance of the evidence. Preponderance of the evidence it is more likely than not that the defendant was reasonable, so the jury can still have doubts and hold defendant liable.
It is important to have quality and dedicated representation for a wrongful death claim. Call the Law Offices of Shane Smith at (770) 487-8999 to speak to an experienced Fayette County wrongful death lawyer today.