Wrongful death is a death caused by the negligent, willful, or wrongful act, neglect, omission, or default of another. The wrongful death law applies in tort cases where the defendant’s conduct has resulted in the death of the victim leaving behind family members and dependents who will suffer as a result of the victim’s death.
The main intention behind this law is to compensate the family members and the dependents. The wrongdoers who injure others cannot escape liability as the injury caused was severe enough to kill the victim.
The burden of proof lies with the victim’s family in order to recover damages.
Not just anyone can file a suit for wrongful death. Only the immediate family members (spouses, children, etc.), distant family members (siblings and grandparents), life partners, parents of a deceased fetus and anyone who was financially dependent on the victim can file a suit for wrongful death.
Both civil and criminal proceedings can be brought against a defendant charged with wrongful death. The difference is that in criminal case, the suit will be filed by a Public Prosecutor on behalf of the State. While in case of a civil suit, it is filed by the victim’s family in order to recover money damages for their own benefit.
The defendant in order to defend himself/herself has the right to investigate the relation between the plaintiff and the victim. Damages in civil cases are based on the victim’s contribution to the family. The defendant can reduce damages by proving that the victim did not have any close ties with his or her family and that they were not financially dependent on the victim.
It requires considerable capital and skill in order to litigate a wrongful death case. It is always advisable to take help from lawyers who handle these kinds of cases to avoid problems.
The Indian Lawyer