Wrongful death claims are civil actions, which generally do not result in incarceration or other criminal penalties. In a wrongful death action, you are restricted to seeking financial compensation for your losses as a result of your loved one’s death. While a person who is found to be responsible or liable for another person’s death due to his or her actions can face extensive financial repercussions, he or she will not face incarcerate, no matter that he or she caused another person’s death.
On the other hand, there are sometimes criminal prosecutions arising out of an accident that resulted in another person’s death. One common example is a drunk driving crash that causes another driver’s death. The drunk driver is likely to be found liable for the death in the context of a wrongful death action. However, it is also likely that the drunk driver will be charged with a crime. The circumstances surrounding the driver’s behavior and the ensuing accident will determine the severity of the crime charged. Assuming that the crime is fairly serious, since it involved another’s death, then he or she may very well face significant amounts of jail or prison time, depending on the sentence that he or she receives from the judge or jury.
As this post indicates, there are a number of different outcomes that can result from a wrongful death case, some of which carry civil penalties, and some of which carry criminal repercussions. While a civil action is not contingent on a criminal action, or vice versa, they definitely do intersect. For example, a criminal conviction is much more likely if an individual has already admitted to liability in a civil wrongful death case. Likewise, a criminal conviction can provide important evidence and findings that can help support a wrongful death claim. The essential distinction between the two types of claims relates to the potential consequences that an accused individual may suffer.
If your loved one was killed due to the negligence of another driver or another individual, then you and his or her other family members may have a civil cause of action for wrongful death. For more information about how to properly handle your wrongful death claim, contact the Wisconsin wrongful death lawyers of Boller & Vaughan today.