When a person is killed due to the negligence of another person or company, the wrongful death incident might be treated as a homicide. Criminal homicide cases are investigated by police, charges are filed by the prosecuting attorney, and the state seeks to prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt.
Not all wrongful death cases involving negligence are tried as criminal cases. Even if the case isn’t tried in a criminal court, the family of the deceased person can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Here’s how a wrongful death claim is different than a criminal case:
1. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit.
One way to think of a wrongful death case is as a personal injury claim in which the injured person is no longer available to bring the case to court. Instead, the person’s family brings the case. The family works with their attorney to investigate the case and build their claim in court. Instead of proving the case “beyond a reasonable doubt,” in most wrongful death claims, the standard of proof is lower.
2. Liability is expressed in terms of money damages, not jail time.
If a defendant is found guilty of homicide, they might face jail or prison time besides fines or other penalties. In a wrongful death case, no jail time is at stake. Instead, the family seeks compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, earnings lost, and the loss of their loved one’s care, companionship, guidance, and support.
At Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C., our experienced New Jersey wrongful death lawyers can help your family seek the compensation you deserve when someone else’s negligence causes fatal harm. Contact us today to learn more.
We can be reached at (609) 240-0040.