The state of Georgia defines wrongful death as the death of a person caused by the “negligent, reckless, intentional or criminal act” of another person or legal entity. According to Buckhead wrongful death attorneys, most wrongful death actions are brought under the legal theory of negligence.
Wrongful death cases are not criminal prosecutions. They are civil cases seeking compensation for damages that a family suffered after the death of a loved one. Although a wrongful death case might be filed during the pendency of a criminal case, it will be heard in a different courtroom with a different judge and jury than the criminal case.
The Burden of Proof
Even the burden of proof is different in a wrongful death case. As opposed to proving guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case, a plaintiff in a wrongful death case need only prove guilt by a preponderance of the evidence. What that means is that the plaintiff’s version of events is more likely true than not true. Even if a defendant is found not guilty in a criminal case, he or she could be found guilty in a wrongful death case because of the lower burden of proof.
A second count to a wrongful death lawsuit is often brought as a survival action. Any damages awarded on a survival count would be different from those in the wrongful death count. In most cases, damages under both counts are substantial.
Wrongful death actions involve complex personal injury litigation that calls for a highly experienced and effective trial lawyer. If you have lost a family member as a result of the negligence or other wrongful act of another person or entity, contact our Buckhead wrongful death attorneys at Shani O. Brooks, P.C. You’ll be able to arrange for a free consultation and case evaluation when you visit our website.