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Can a Wrongful Death Claim Be Filed in Addition to Criminal Charges?


Wrongful death claims allow those who have lost a loved one to another person’s negligence to collect compensation for their pain and suffering. These claims are civil suits, and often apply to harm that was not purposeful — for example, a vehicle collision or work accident. Civil action is usually appropriate for these situations, but the negligent party may face a criminal charge such as manslaughter.

In cases in which criminal legal action is appropriate (like in situations of violence), the victim’s family may also be entitled to a claim. Criminal charges can even help plaintiffs build a wrongful death case.

Car Accidents

A vehicle collision that results in a death can be the subject of a vehicular manslaughter case, but like in any car accident case, the victims can recover damages. A family that loses a loved one to a collision can hold the negligent driver accountable in a wrongful death claim, even if the driver is also facing criminal charges.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice cases present a unique situation because of the rarity of criminal charges. Civil action is appropriate if a doctor’s negligence causes the death of a patient, but the chances of the doctor being charged with a crime are lower. For a doctor to face criminal charges for medical malpractice, victims must be able to prove that the doctor intended to harm the patient, or was so grossly negligent that they knew the chance of causing a death was high.

Work Accidents

The family of a worker who is killed on the job may be entitled to a wrongful death claim, but the benefits available may be limited according to the workers’ compensation claims in the state. Employer negligence is not often considered criminal, but if a death occurs because of intentional harm or misconduct, the employer could face charges and wrongful death damages.

Criminal Activity

When criminal violence is involved, filing a wrongful death claim is not only permitted, but the criminal element can substantiate that claim. Providing evidence that the offender was charged with a crime in relation to the death makes the case for recovering compensation much stronger.

Was your loved one killed because of the negligence of another person? If you have a wrongful death case, contact the Law Office of James M. Stanley.

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