2 Things To Know When Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When your loved one dies due to the negligence of others, it can be really frustrating and can make your mourning even harder. There are a number of things that you can do. One of them is to file a wrongful death suit. If you are going to do that, then you need to make sure that you are at least familiar with everything that goes into filing one of these claims. It can be hard for you to file one of these suits if you don't meet some of the criteria.

Criminal Cases Don't Matter

If your loved one was killed due to a crime, the issue will generally go to trial. During that trial, the alleged attacker may go free, with no legal repercussions. However, that doesn't mean that you can't go to a civil court and file a wrongful death lawsuit. In a criminal case, the burden of proof is all on the prosecutors; they have to prove that the accused did what they are on trial for, and they have to prove it without a shadow of a doubt to the people of the jury. However, in a civil case, like a wrongful death case, the burden of proof is switched. The defendant is going to have to be the one to prove that there was no way that they caused the death in any way. Thus, you can still win your suit against them, even if they were found not guilty in a criminal case.

The Right Person

Another thing that you need to know is that you need to be the right person to file the case. Generally, that means that you have to be immediate family. In the case of a married individual, that would mean the spouse or children, if there are any. If the person is single or a minor, then parents could file, or possibly siblings, depending on the state. A guardian can file on behalf of minor children. Some states will also allow people who are financially dependent to some extent on the deceased to file a wrongful death suit. That would mean someone like a former spouse or a business partner. 

If you have lost a loved one, you may feel incredibly angry, depending on what happened. You may be able to file a wrongful death suit against the person who is responsible for your loved one's death. Contact a law firm like Forstman & Cutchen LLP to learn more.