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A wrongful death lawsuit is not the same as a criminal trial. If a criminal trial does occur, the criminal trial is filed on behalf of the state, and the defendant is tried for breaking some state statute or law. However, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by a family member, friend or associate of the diseased. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed subsequent to a criminal trial, even if the defendant is found innocent in the criminal trial.
In most cases, the wrongful death lawsuit will follow similar procedures and use the same evidence as a criminal trial. Because the defendant is being tried for damages, rather than a crime, the standard of proof is lower in a wrongful death lawsuit. In a criminal trial, the defendant must be found to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must only prove that the defendant was responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.
In order to be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of another person, you must be considered a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Defining “personal representative of the decedent’s estate” differs on a state-by-state basis. Each state has a “wrongful death statute” that defines who is considered eligible to file suit. Contact a wrongful death attorney to be sure that you are eligible before beginning the process of filing suit.
Generally, the following are eligible to take on the role of personal representative of the decedent’s estate:
Eligibility is not limited to this list, and special circumstances can arise in which others are eligible to take on the role. Contact a wrongful death attorney right away if you have any questions regarding eligibility.
In order to prove that the defendant is at fault, a wrongful death attorney must prove that:
Again, wrongful death is considered an incident in which a person’s death results from negligence or misconduct by another person. There is a wide array of incidents which could fall under the definition of wrongful death.
Some of the more common include:
There are three types of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit:
If you believe that you have a case and want to hire a wrongful death attorney, please contact our law firm. TorHoerman Law offers a no-obligation free consultation for any potential wrongful death lawsuit. Do not wait to take action; a wrongful death lawsuit requires time-sensitive information – there are strict statutes of limitation in most states. We will help you get the compensation that you deserve for the death of your loved one.
Last Modified: March 19th, 2019 @ 10:46 am
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The contents of this webpage have been prepared by TorHoerman Law, LLC for informational purposes only. None of this information is intended as either legal or medical advice or opinions. No attorney/client relationship is established with use of this website. Sending or receiving information through this site, posting to our blogs/news site does not establish an attorney/client relationship. An attorney/client relationship with TorHoerman Law is established only by an express and written agreement by TorHoerman Law to represent you. Our attorneys make a case-by-case assessment of any claims and results may vary depending on the facts concerning any case. The attorneys at TorHoerman Law are licensed to practice in Illinois, Missouri, and California. In some circumstances, cases may be sent to other qualified lawyers. In those circumstances, TorHoerman Law maintains joint responsibility.
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