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Wrongful Death Accidents - Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What is a wrongful death?
  2. Who are considered to be the survivors of a victim of wrongful death?
  3. What compensation can be claimed in a wrongful death case?
  4. What is the difference between a civil case and a criminal case against someone who caused a death?


What is a wrongful death?

A wrongful death is a death that is caused by the negligence or misconduct of an individual or company.

Who are considered to be the survivors of a victim of wrongful death?

The survivors of a wrongful death victim may vary from state to state, but in general usually include the spouse and minor children.

What compensation can be claimed in a wrongful death case?

Compensation for a wrongful death claim may include expenses incurred by the death of the victim (funeral, medical, etc.); loss of future earnings anticipated over the lifetime of the victim; benefits lost due to the victim's death (medical insurance, pension, 401K, etc.); companionship, care or protection lost to the survivors as a result of the death; general and punitive damages.

What is the difference between a civil case and a criminal case against someone who caused a death?

A criminal case can only be brought by the government. The prosecutor makes a case against the person accused of a crime, seeking prison time or another punishment. The prosecutor must meet a higher standard of proof than in a civil case. A civil case can be filed by anyone whose private rights or civil rights have allegedly been violated by another party. When a private party files a civil lawsuit for wrongful death, the party is seeking monetary damages, compensation for the loss suffered. A civil trial for wrongful death, therefore, is very different from a criminal trial for murder or manslaughter.