Other kinds of actions can also result in harm and death. A person may take out a hit on another person or deliberately, directly choose to kill them. The law recognizes these issues formally. The system holds the person or company responsible for the unnecessary death in many varied ways. One such way is via what is known as wrongful death. Wrongful death is a very specific legal term with highly specific legal consequences.
A Conviction is Not Necessary
A wrongful death lawsuit may be brought under certain very highly specific circumstances. For example, if someone is murdered, the victim’s survivors may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The person or corporation being sued does not need to be convicted of a crime that led to the death in order for them to be held liable in a wrongful death verdict. The case of O.J. Simpson illustrates this principal. He was found not guilty of murdering three people in a criminal court of law. However, the surviving relates of his supposed victims were able to bring a lawsuit against him. This despite the fact that the jury found him not guilty of murder in a criminal court.
Someone responsible for taking another person’s life is charged in the criminal court system. Officials of the court may choose to punish the person found guilty of murder in many ways. They may face jail time, prison time and even the possibility of death in some states if the killing meets the state’s special circumstances. On the other hand, the wrongful death lawsuit is part of the civil court system. This is a separate system from the courts used to hear criminal cases. In order to convict someone in a criminal court, the prosecutor is required to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The same standards do not apply in a civil court when filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Instead, those filing this lawsuit must meet what is known as a preponderance of evidence. This terms means that is more likely than not that the event happened. It is much lower standard of evidence, making it more likely that the filer will succeed in getting the verdict they want from the suit.
Bringing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Under law, only certain parties can bring this kind of lawsuit. The suit can only be brought to the court by personal representative who is acting on behalf of the decedent’s estate. Every single state including Illinois has a specific system that needs to be followed in order to file. Those who want to hire Elgin wrongful death lawyers to help them bring this lawsuit to the courts must meet certain specific conditions first.
The person must have died. The person or company being sued must have caused the death because they were negligent or because they deliberately intended to harm the person who died. Remaining family members are required to have suffered some form of monetary damages because of the death. For example, if the party who died was the major bread winner and leaves behind three young children, the surviving spouse can bring this kind of lawsuit. The same is true of a spouse who was reliant on the deceased for help with issues such as caring for children, keeping a clean house and taking responsibility for someone’s close relatives if they cannot care for themselves. The survivor may need to hire someone else to do these tasks and thus suffer monetary loss. In addition, they will need to appoint a personal representative to speak for the estate. If all of these conditions are met, the lawsuit can enter the civil court system and be heard there.