A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case that comes after a criminal case has completed. A criminal case tries to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant was responsible for the death and often results in punishment such as jail time. A wrongful death lawsuit, on the other hand, requires a lower standard of proof and results in a monetary award.
A defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit must be shown to have acted negligently in a manner that caused another person to die. The damages awarded in a lawsuit such as this take into consideration many factors, such as the hospital or funeral expenses of the deceased individual, the lost wages that person will not be able to earn, and an arbitrary amount to represent the pain and suffering the deceased and their families went through.
It’s possible for an individual to be found not guilty in a criminal case, but still held liable in a civil wrongful death lawsuit. One famous example of this is when OJ Simpson was tried for the death of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can provide more information about wrongful death lawsuit criteria.