Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Handled like a Criminal Trial?
A wrongful death lawsuit is not the same as a criminal trial. If a criminal trial does occur, the 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 initial trial. A wrongful death attorney will represent someone filing a civil lawsuit for wrongful death.
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 accused 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.