A person can be held liable for another person’s death. In this instance, a wrongful death is claimed. A wrongful death was instituted in order for relatives or relevantly connected individuals to make a claim on behalf of a deceased individual since the deceased cannot make the claim.
People who file a wrongful death suit do so in order to obtain damages since the deceased cannot do so. A wrongful death claim is civil case but can also be considered a criminal case if a criminal element was involved in the death. However, a claim of wrongful death usually leads to a court trial in order to determine if the claim is true or not.
In order to pursue a wrongful death claim, survivors or relevantly connected individuals of the deceased should consult with a civil attorney before filing the suit in court. It is then the burden of the prosecution to prove that the death was indeed wrongful. However, it is not necessary for the prosecution to prove that the wrongful death is beyond reasonable doubt. It is only necessary to prove that it is more than likely that the wrongful death occurred due to the actions of the defendant. Therefore, the preponderance of evidence is what is necessary to prove, or that the wrongful death was more than 50% likely to have occurred due to the actions of the defendant.
The damages awarded to the plaintiff are dependent on the circumstances and the extent to which the defendant was liable for the wrongful death.