The term “wrongful death,” which describes any death brought on by another’s conduct that could have been avoided, is typically only used in connection with civil claims. However, in rare circumstances, the same incident may be the basis for both a civil claim and a criminal lawsuit. After an unexpected loss, knowing the difference between the two activities and how one or both could help your family could ensure a comfortable future and peace of mind.
Have you lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party? Contact Ali Awad, ‘the CEO Lawyer,’ and his team of experienced wrongful death attorneys at the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm by calling (833) 254-2923 or contacting us online to receive your free and confidential case evaluation. Attorney Ali Awad, ‘the CEO Lawyer,’ established the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm and quickly turned it into one of the fastest-growing law firms in the country. If we take your case, you won’t pay anything until we win.
Wrongful Death and Criminal Cases
Although wrongful death is not criminal, it may involve a crime that contributed to or was connected to the death of the victim. However, the events that result in a wrongful death lawsuit may also result in criminal charges against the responsible party in a different court case. A person found to be at fault for someone’s death may or may not be found guilty of a crime connected to or involving that death.
A wrongful death action, according to the Legal Information Institute (LII), is a civil lawsuit in which the plaintiff holds the defendant responsible for someone else’s death because they failed to take the necessary precautions or committed a purposeful act that contributed to it. States differ regarding who can initiate a wrongful death case, although many let close family members do so.
Families and loved ones of those who pass away due to someone else’s carelessness may be entitled to compensation for the losses they endured. While people may bring a wrongful death claim on their own, a lawyer can ensure they do it promptly and avoid unnecessary delays.
Different Court Case Types
Two distinct law systems make up the United States court system in general. Even though certain matters may end up in both courts, they have very distinct goals, procedures, and conclusions. Criminal law deals with offenses and their penalties, while civil law is concerned with a person’s rights.
Because wrongful death claims are heard in civil courts rather than criminal courts, there are no such crimes as wrongful death. This kind of legal action enables the decedent’s family members and other survivors to file a lawsuit against a person who is allegedly responsible for the negligence that led to the death of their loved one. To recoup money from the person, they file a wrongful death claim. To establish carelessness, the plaintiff or their attorney must show:
The defendant owed the decedent a duty of care.
The accused went against their duty of care.
The decedent died as a result of their negligence.
Significant financial losses resulted from their passing for their family or estate.
Decedents and their survivors have the chance to pursue compensation for harms that someone else inflicted by filing civil lawsuits. The decedent’s heirs may be entitled to compensation if the defendant is found to have been negligent under the law.
Criminal proceedings concern an individual’s misdeeds against the government, as opposed to civil lawsuits, which deal with disputes between two people or parties. The forms of penalties for each are likewise different; although civil trials may require the defendant to pay damages to the deceased and their relatives, criminal cases frequently lead to the defendant’s imprisonment or probation.
Criminal and Civil Disputes May be Litigated Concurrently.
In rare situations, the relatives of a deceased person may file a lawsuit in civil court against a defendant who is charged in criminal court to seek monetary restitution. For instance, a person accused of homicide who is apprehended by law enforcement will probably need to go through the criminal court process to evaluate their guilt and the potential punishment for their offenses.
Regardless of the outcome in the criminal court, the accused may also be sued in civil court for wrongful death by the deceased person’s family or estate. The defendant’s criminal case will not be altered or affected by civil court proceedings. However, if found accountable in a civil court, they must offer compensation for the losses endured by the deceased person’s loved ones.
Wrongful Death Laws in Georgia
A civil claim is made in court by the decedent’s dependents or surviving family members. These assertions are kept confidential. Legal issues can be very difficult; therefore, it’s frequently in the family’s best interest to engage an attorney to manage them.
The family can request compensation for the losses brought on by the death of their loved one through the claim. In addition, financial compensation for accident-related medical expenses, property damage, their loved ones’ suffering, the loss of companionship, and lost wages and benefits is possible.
Federal or state governments can file a criminal complaint. Criminal cases do not always involve unintentional deaths, although civil claims frequently do. Common charges include murder or homicide, voluntary manslaughter, and involuntary manslaughter. Involuntary manslaughter is used to describe killings that do not qualify as murder. This can be the result of a lack of planning or mitigating factors. The unlawful killing of another person with malice or intent is known as murder or homicide.
A prosecutor will represent the state in a criminal proceeding and bring charges against the defendant. The defendant must be proven guilty of the alleged crime by the prosecution beyond a reasonable doubt.
Recognizing the Variations Between Proof and Intent
The evidence required to establish responsibility or guilt in civil claims and criminal trials is different. A preponderance of the evidence standard must be met to develop a case of wrongful death. This means that if it is more likely than not that the defendant caused the death, the judge or jury may find it in favor of the plaintiff. In contrast, the prisoner may be acquitted if the jury has any legitimate doubts in a criminal case.
Similar evidence might be used in both legal actions to prove negligence or culpability. This could be in the form of forensic evidence, video surveillance footage, witness interviews, doctor’s reports, medical records, or police reports.
The two legal actions’ goals, as well as the burden of proof, are distinct. In a civil lawsuit, the plaintiff may merely have to show that the defendant was negligent and that the conduct led to the victim’s death. For instance, it is possible that the defendant will be held accountable for the death if they were texting when they hit the decedent, and the automobile accident injuries led to death.
However, there usually needs to be some level of intent in a criminal case. The prosecutor must demonstrate whether the defendant acted intentionally or negligently. Even if plotting occurred just seconds before the murderous act, the state must show that the defendant had premeditated malice to convict them of murder.
Wrongful Death Suit in Atlanta
Justice can only be described in monetary terms if someone is determined to be responsible for a wrongful death claim. It will be determined how much is owed to the family. But the repercussions of a criminal prosecution are substantially worse. Any level of homicide carries the possibility of penalties, probation, or even a prison term.
Depending on the specifics of your loved one’s passing, both a civil lawsuit and a criminal investigation may get started at the same time. Without the help of an experienced attorney, it can be difficult to harmonize the two quite different legal proceedings. To learn more about your choices, if you’re ready to file a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased family member, contact our attorneys right away. Based on your particular situation, we’ll assist you in choosing the best course of action.
Who May Bring a Case for Wrongful Death?
Each state has requirements for who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit, just as each state has its statute of limitations that establishes how long a party has to file a claim. While some states only permit family members to file wrongful death lawsuits, others allow either party to do so, and some states mandate that the personal representative of the decedent’s estate do so.
States also specify which family members are entitled to bring wrongful death claims, and some also permit unrelated people who relied on the deceased for financial support to do so. Each state has different requirements for how and to whom the plaintiff must divide the settlement money. A lawyer can assist people in deciding if they can bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of their loved ones.
Atlanta Wrongful Death Lawyer
Call Ali Awad, ‘the CEO Lawyer,’ and his experienced team of wrongful death attorneys today to receive a free, no-obligation consultation. We can assist you with exploring your legal options and avenues to ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact the CEO Lawyer Personal Injury Law Firm by calling (833) 254-2923 or contacting us online. If we take your case, you won’t pay anything until we win.
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Frequently Asked Questions
After a personal injury, you're bound to have legal questions. The CEO Lawyer Ali Awad can provide you with answers to these questions, just as he's given answers to his millions of curious social media followers. Take a look at some of the most common personal injury law questions for general information, and then reach out to one of our seasoned attorneys for specific guidance on your case!
To quickly resolve matters following an accident, insurance companies will offer you less than you deserve in compensation for your injuries. Many victims feel pressured to accept these offers as the bills begin to pile up, but that is rarely a good idea. The insurance company is looking to protect its bottom line; and will offer injured victims less than they deserve. An experienced personal injury attorney understands how to negotiate with the insurance company and can look out for your best interests by getting you the compensation you deserve after an injury. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, it is important to avoid negotiating or providing recorded statements to the insurance company without first seeking help from a qualified personal injury attorney.
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Georgia's Personal Injury & Accident Firm
Accident victims have a limited time to file a personal injury lawsuit. This time period is referred to as the statute of limitations, and in Atlanta, it lasts only two years. This means that if you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, you have only two years to pursue a personal injury suit. If you wait too long to reach out to an experienced attorney, you might be forever barred from seeking the compensation you deserve.
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