Wrongful Death

When a person dies as a result of another’s actions, that person’s family may be able to file a lawsuit against the person, even if there were no criminal charges or the person was acquitted on criminal charges, for the death of their loved one. This action is called a wrongful death claim.

A wrongful death claim is a claim in common law jurisdictions that is brought against the individual who did something that makes him or her liable for the death of another person. The claim is typically brought by the estate or the deceased’s close relatives. The claim developed in an effort to close a gap in the legal system. Before wrongful death, because a dead person cannot file a lawsuit, activities that caused a person to die would not result in civil actions while activities that did not result in death would. This was seen as a bad thing as it nearly encouraged people to ensure that the injured person died.

Because the standard of proof or evidence is lower than it is in a criminal case, it is frequently easier for a family to seek retribution against someone who kills a loved one through use of the civil court system rather than the criminal system. Even if the person responsible for the loved one’s death is charged with murder in the criminal system, he or she can still be tried for wrongful death. The two actions are not the same. In the wrongful death case, the individual’s life and freedom are not being put on the line and so there is not conflict with double jeopardy.

Contact an Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyer

If your loved one has been killed through the actions of another, contact the Indianapolis personal injury lawyers of the Hankey Law Office at 317-634-8565.