Pursuing Wrongful Death After A Suspected Murder

With some wrongful death cases, the defendant did not intend to cause death and civil litigation will be based on the negligence of the defendant. However, when the death was actually intentional, the death was a result of a homicide. Whether or not the death is intentional or homicide can affect your wrongful death case.

Murder Charges

A murder charge is always brought against the defendant by the state or federal government. Murder requires intent and is considered a type of wrongful death. Murder is also much more difficult to prove than wrongful death because an individual can only be found guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt. However, with wrongful death, the case is decided by a preponderance of the evidence. The plaintiff has to prove that it was more likely than not for the defendant to have caused the death. 

Guilty Verdicts

If the defendant is convicted of murder, it's much easier to prove that he or she was responsible for wrongful death. However, you may struggle to seek compensation for wrongful death because the defendant will not be able to earn a living in prison and you may struggle to collect from him or her. However, this isn't a problem if the defendant already had a lot of assets.

Not Guilty Verdicts

When the defendant is not found guilty of murder, this doesn't mean that you cannot successfully sue for wrongful death. For example, the defendant may have only been found innocent of intentionally causing the death of another individual but may have accidentally caused the death.

Civil Litigation

While the state is responsible for prosecuting your loved one for murder, you will be responsible for hiring a wrongful death attorney who will assist you in pursuing a wrongful death claim. You will want to hire a wrongful death attorney regardless of the verdict of the murder trial because you will want to make a case for the damages you have suffered as a result of the wrongful death. 


The primary measurement of damages due to wrongful death is financial. This can include medical expenses, funeral expenses, a loss of inheritance, loss of support, and loss of services. The courts may also award punitive damages, especially in the case of a murder, which has the purpose of deterring others from behaving in a similar manner. To determine all the damages you might have suffered, you will want to speak to a wrongful death attorney.

Reach out to a firm like the Labine Law Firm to learn more.