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Wrongful Death Cases Can Provide Justice When the Justice System Can’t...

Acts of violence happen all around us. We accept that because we have to. But most of us try to get by with the assumption that when a violent act happens, particularly when it leads to someone’s death, the justice system will step in to make sure the person responsible gets the appropriate punishment.

That is how the justice system is supposed to work, but it only succeeds sometimes. There are many reasons why someone who has directly caused the wrongful death of another might not receive the appropriate punishment from the justice system. To begin with, American justice is built upon the assumption that the accused is innocent until proven guilty, meaning there has to be a lot of conclusive evidence put forward to prove that person is guilty. Things can go wrong in a trial. The prosecutor can get the legal strategy wrong. The jury can be swayed by an emotional appeal. The evidence may just not be there to prove beyond the shadow of a doubt that the person accused of committing the crime really committed the crime.

The horror of not just losing a loved one but also seeing justice fail to hold the right people accountable is almost unthinkable. Thankfully, there is another way to get justice: a wrongful death suit. As Glover Law Firm points out, this civil case is distinct from the criminal case. Regardless of the results of the criminal case, the civil wrongful death case can go forward and may find more success. A famous example of this is OJ Simpson being found not guilty in the criminal trial, but being forced to pay $25 million in damages after being found “liable” in the civil trial.

There are several major benefits to pursuing a wrongful death civil case. Perhaps most importantly for the family of the lost loved one, a civil case has a lower standard of evidence. Where there is no room for doubt in a criminal case, a civil case just has to prove it is more likely to be true than not. Many wrongful deaths from violence can be proved to this standard, even when they can’t be proven in a criminal court. Further, while a civil case cannot lead to imprisonment, it can lead to significant financial penalties against the accused, and those penalties all go to the grieving family.

This kind of justice isn’t completely ideal in some ways. Ideally, of course, the family would see the person whose violent behavior took their loved one convicted first in criminal court and then in civil court. That is justice working perfectly. However, we have to remember that there are avenues to pursue if justice seems waylaid in the criminal court. There’s still a lot a family can do to get some sense of justice and closure after their tragic loss.

I hope this information is useful to those who are going to through that nightmare we all hope never occurs to us. Knowing your legal options can help make sure you aren’t forced to feel cheated out of justice while experiencing such a serious loss.

No Financial Gain can Undo or Erase a Family’s Traumatic Loss and Experience...

A wrongful death claim is the lawsuit that may be filed by the family members of a person who dies as a result of someone else’s negligent act or wrongdoing. Its main purpose is to seek compensation for the losses or damages suffered, and to be suffered, by the family of the deceased, such as medical expenses, funeral expenses, lost companionship and lost (future) wages.

Damages can be classified under three categories: economic, non-economic and punitive. States, however, differ when it comes to the specific items found in each category.

Economic damages does not only include all the expenses incurred by the family as a result of the death of their loved one but, also all the financial contributions that the deceased would have been able to give to his/her family had he/she not died. The damages covered under this category include: cost of medical treatment and funeral service; financial value of all the goods and services that the deceased would have provided for his/her family; loss of the victim’s wages and other earnings; loss of possible inheritance; and, loss of possible medical coverage for family members, and the deceased’s pension plan and other benefits.

Non-economic damages are the non-material losses that the family of the deceased would suffer, such as: the family’s loss of love and companionship from the deceased; loss of care, guidance, protection and nurturing from the deceased; a spouse’s loss of consortium with his/her deceased spouse; and, the family’s suffering, pain and mental anguish.

The third category, punitive damages, actually serves as punishment to make the party at fault realize his/her wrong act as well as to deter him/her from committing the same mistake. While some states award compensatory damages with punitive damages, many others do not even make available these damages in wrongful death lawsuits. This absence, however, is usually off-set by the awarding of treble damages (or triple damages) which increases the amount of actual damages to three times; awarding of treble damages is made at the discretion of the court, which bases its judgment on legally acceptable reasons.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), negligent acts that cause wrongful death can be committed by anyone. It can be a manufacturer who produces a low quality construction ladder that causes a worker to suffer a fatal fall; a car driven by a distracted driver who hits and kills a pedestrian; a doctor who prescribes a drug that increases the risk of heart attack, and so forth.

According to the law firm Williams Kherkher, if an accident claims the life of a loved one, families are suddenly faced with traumatic changes in their lives. They are forced to cope with their loved one’s passing and come to terms with their loss, while at the same time they may wish for some way to seek justice against the party whose negligent behavior caused the accident. Families searching for some sense of closure may choose to pursue legal action against the negligent party to help them better deal with their loss.

A wrongful death lawyer understands the extreme difficulty of you seeking legal assistance while deep in mourning for your loss. However, he/she also understands the importance of filing a case quickly in order to help your family seek the assistance you need to pay for medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost income, as well as compensation for loss of companionship.

Along this same line of thought, the firm Amerio Law believes that no financial gain can undo or erase a family’s traumatic loss and experience. However, legal action can certainly help relieve financial burdens and hopefully help the affected family obtain the justice and closure it deserves.