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Back January 13, 2021

Civil vs. Criminal Cases after Wrongful Death

In many cases, a loved one’s death might have been prevented had someone taken the time to act carefully, reasonably, and prudently under the circumstances. When that occurs, the personal representative of the estate could file a wrongful death action against the at-fault party. 

In some cases, individuals who cause fatal accidents can be subject to criminal penalties. For example, in drunk driving car accident cases, the drunk driver who causes the accident could face criminal charges for involuntary manslaughter or reckless driving – depending on the circumstances. If the at-fault driver is ultimately convicted of the offense, he or she could face numerous criminal penalties, including monetary fines and possible jail time. In addition, the at-fault person could be subject to a civil claim filed by the accident victim’s surviving family members. 

A wrongful death claim is separate from a criminal case, as it is a civil claim that the decedent’s surviving loved ones file, seeking monetary compensation and damages. Although money is a poor substitute for the loss of a person you love, it can bring about a sense of justice and closure. It can also help families cover the financial losses of an unexpected tragedy. 

If you recently lost a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence, the knowledgeable and compassionate Matthews wrongful death lawyers at the Panchenko Law Firm may be able to assist. Our legal team could assist you with filing your claim for wrongful death damages, and if necessary, with filing a lawsuit in the state court system where the accident happened. 

Defining Wrongful Death

A person’s death is considered a “wrongful” death if it resulted from a negligent or wrongful act that another person brought about. In this situation, the person designated as the personal representative of the estate can seek financial recovery on behalf of close family members.

Some individuals pass away with a legally executed and valid will in place. When that occurs, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is the will’s executor and can file a wrongful death claim. However, if the decedent did not have a validly executed will in place at the time he or she passed away, the personal representative of the estate (the person who can file the wrongful death claim) is the estate administrator appointed by the court. 

What Types of Damages Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?

The personal representative of a decedent’s estate is eligible to pursue various types of monetary recovery as part of a wrongful death claim. First, the personal representative could seek reimbursement for medical expenses leading up from the accident date until the time of the decedent’s passing. The personal representative could also seek compensation for loss of the decedent’s household services, funeral expenses, burial expenses, loss of protection and guidance, and loss of anticipated future income. 

Call a Knowledgeable Matthews Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

The legal team at the Panchenko Law Firm is ready to assist you with your wrongful death claim or lawsuit. For a free legal consultation and case evaluation with an experienced Matthews wrongful death attorney, please call us today at (704) 900-7675 or contact us online.  


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