Wrongful death is a claim in common law jurisdictions against a person who can be held liable for a death. The claim is brought in a civil action, usually by close relatives, as enumerated by statute. Under common law, a dead person cannot bring a suit, and this created a loophole in which activities that resulted in a person’s injury would result in civil sanction but activities that resulted in a person’s death would not.
The standard of proof is preponderance of the evidence as opposed to clear and convincing or beyond a reasonable doubt. For this reason it is often easier for a family to seek retribution against someone who kills a family member through tort than a criminal prosecution. However, the two actions are not mutually exclusive; a person may be prosecuted criminally for causing a person’s death (whether in the form of murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or some other theory) and that person can also be sued civilly in a wrongful death action (as in the O. J. Simpson murder case). Wrongful death is also the only recourse available when a company, not an individual, causes the death of a person.
The death of a loved one is difficult at any time. When that death is the result of a preventable fatal accident, questions must be answered. Those responsible must be held accountable for your loss. We expose gross negligence and recklessness on the part of manufacturers, employers, auto drivers and healthcare professionals that result in fatalities.
When a fatality is due to negligence or misconduct, you may be able to claim payment for funeral expenses, lost income, and the support and companionship provided by the deceased.
• Deadly car crash
• Fatal pedestrian crosswalk accident
• Death due to medical negligence
• Wrongful death of child due to lack of supervision
• Fatal drowning
• Any wrongful death caused by another’s negligent, careless, or reckless act