A civil wrongful death lawsuit and a criminal murder trial both involve the death of another person, so aren’t they both the same? The answer is no.
A criminal lawsuit is filed by a government prosecutor who represents the state and victims. A wrongful death charge is a civil lawsuit begun by people or estates that claim an individual or corporation is responsible for the death. Also, the criminal lawsuit may lead to prison time for the guilty verdict, but not for the wrongful death verdict.
Many Americans first heard of a wrongful death lawsuit when former professional football star O.J. Simpson was charged with the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. At the end of the well-publicized trial in 1995, Simpson was found not guilty. However, the families of Brown and Goldman filed a wrongful death lawsuit and in 1997, were awarded more than $45 million as a result.
A wrongful death lawsuit has these elements in common:
A Person Has Died.
The Negligence Or Intent To Cause Harm By Another Person Is The Cause Of The Trial.
Family Survivors Are Suffering Monetary Harm Because Of The Death.
A Personal Family Representative Has Been Appointed For The Estate Of The Descendant.