Posted by on Sep 15, 2016 in Wrongful Death | 0 comments

Wrongful death and murder can both lead to the sudden death of a person. But while they can lead to the same result, wrongful death and murder have huge differences. When their loved one has been murdered, can the family sue the individual responsible? When someone has been charged with murder, can they also be sued for wrongful death? Let us take a look at the difference of the two terms.

The first difference between wrongful death and murder is the type of case. Wrongful death is a civil case. According to the website of Spiros Law Firm, it is the family of the deceased that files the case. Being a civil case, it carries a different burden of proof than a criminal case. In such cases, proof by 51% or more is already acceptable. A wrongful death case is tried in a civil court.

On the other hand, murder is a criminal case and is filed by the state as the act is considered a crime. The trial is heard in a criminal court and if the defendant is found guilty, the punishment is often incarceration. In a wrongful death case, punishment is usually by payment of damages to the surviving members of the family.

Another difference between wrongful death and murder is the level of intent. In wrongful death, the defendant may just have been negligent with their actions. On the other hand, murder always involves criminal intent which is beyond civil negligence.

As mentioned, a wrongful death lawsuit has a different burden of proof than murder. With the former, it must be proven that the defendant was indeed responsible for the death of the plaintiff. The latter, on the other hand, requires proof of guilt “beyond reasonable doubt.”

Actions that amount to murder can also form the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit. However, this is not always the case with liability for wrongful death not leading to criminal punishment for murder.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *