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Wrongful Death Lawsuits

A wrongful death lawsuit is a somewhat confusing name for a not very confusing legal action. In a wrongful death lawsuit, a person or persons are sued in civil court for the death they allegedly caused of someone. Instead of a potential criminal penalty like prison, someone found guilty of wrongful death usually pays monetary damages to the winning party.

These kinds of lawsuits can be very effective when criminal liability was not proven, as in the now infamous OJ Simpson case. OJ Simpson was acquitted of murder, but held liable for the wrongful death of Nicole Brown Smith. You may have heard about his now famous financial troubles that were a result of this kind of lawsuit. The reason this can happen is that the burden of proof in a wrongful death lawsuit is a much lower standard than in a criminal action. Thus the guilt of a party is a little easier to establish.

Wrongful death actions can also be used to hold defendants accountable who may not be easy to link directly to criminal actions, but nonetheless have culpability for the resulting death. A good example of using a wrongful death action to reach such defendants is the case filed by the family of Michael Jackson against AEG Live, the concert promoter involved in the "This Is It" tour. AEG Live did not administer the lethal drugs to Jackson, but the Jackson family is alleging that by hiring the doctor who did, it bears some responsibility for Jackson's death.

Categories: Wrongful Death
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Thomas Law Firm
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