A conviction for manslaughter can also result in a civil suit against the plaintiff from the victim’s family. The civil suit in this scenario would be for wrongful death. It’s not unusual for a wrongful death victim’s family to file such a suit after the defendant is found guilty of the criminal charge.
How a Person Can Be Sued for Wrongful Death After a Manslaughter Conviction
The civil suit is allowable because a conviction for the manslaughter charge is criminal. It is not what is referred to as “double jeopardy” when a person is tried twice for the same crime.
- A prosecutor brings manslaughter charges against the person accused of killing someone intentionally or unintentionally. If found guilty, the defendant faces jail time.
- A victim’s surviving family member can sue the person responsible for wrongful death in a civil suit. Even if found guilty, the defendant does not go to jail for wrongful death.
From Manslaughter to Wrongful Death
Negligence is often the key for how a manslaughter criminal case can transition into a wrongful death suit. However, the following key elements must be true:
- A wrongful death attorney can prove that the defendant acted in a negligent manner toward the victim which resulted in the victim’s death.
- The victim financially supported their surviving family member who is now suffering monetarily as a result.
- The surviving family member files a wrongful death suit against the person responsible for their loved one’s death.
If your loved one was killed because of someone’s negligent behavior, whether it was medical malpractice, reckless driving, or for another reason, you may be eligible for financial compensation. The legal system’s reasoning is that whatever financial assistance you would still be receiving if not for your loved one’s death, you are entitled to receive from their killer.
Types of Financial Compensation
Depending on the circumstances, you may be eligible for one or more types of compensation from whomever caused your loved one’s death.
- Compensatory damages which may include costs such as:
- Funeral expenses
- Wages that the victim would normally earn for working
- Medical expenses incurred by your loved one prior to passing
- Additional costs you have incurred from their passing which might even include therapy for dealing with their death.
- Punitive damages which may be charged in addition to compensatory damages.
- Punitive damages are not as uncommon except under extreme circumstances such as the person intentionally murdered your loved one.
- Punitive damages are designed to financially punish the culprit for their egregious behavior toward another human being.
A personal injury attorney can help you seek justice against the person responsible for killing your loved one. Because a wrongful death suit can be complex to pursue and challenging to win, consider contacting an attorney without delay. Wrongful death cases tend to require extensive case preparation but it must be completed before the statute of limitations runs out.
Contact a personal injury lawyer Milwaukee WI trusts immediately to request a confidential case evaluation. Most attorneys who provide legal representation in this area of the law do not charge for the initial consultation. If your loved one was killed because someone acted negligently, you may be eligible for compensation. This is little consolation to those who have lost their loved one but the victim’s family deserves to recover their financial losses.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Hickey and Turim P.C. for their insight into wrongful death practice.