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Shooting incident leads to wrongful death lawsuit

A Montana woman has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a 67-year-old man in connection with the October death of her husband. Her 53-year-old husband was fatally shot on the other man's property. The man's widow has alleged that the shooting was the result of an altercation over land access.

The fatal accident occurred on October 18 in Lewis and Clark County. According to law enforcement officials, the man who died was shot twice with a .40-caliber semi-automatic pistol by the defendant. The police have released little information about the shooting. An investigation has concluded and a report has been submitted to the Attorney General's Office, which will make the decision whether to file criminal charges.

The Lewis and Clark County Sheriff says both men were armed. The defendant did not leave the scene of the shooting and was cooperative with investigators. The defendant's lawyer insists that the shooting was a case of self-defense and was in compliance with the state's self-defense laws.

The wrongful death lawsuit, however, alleges that the defendant's negligence caused the victim's death and also alleges the defendant and his wife were negligent in failing to help the victim after the shooting. The lawsuit seeks compensation for damages associated with loss of companionship and the victim's pain and suffering.

A civil wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in order to hold a defendant liable for monetary damages caused by an incident, whether it was intentional or not. Such incidents can include work-related accidents, car crashes and assaults. In such a case, the plaintiff must prove that the other party's negligence or wrongdoing contributed to the victim's death.

In cases in which the defendant has been charged with a crime, the surviving family can still file a wrongful death lawsuit, regardless of the outcome of a criminal trial. If the claim succeeds, the family may recover compensation for emotional and financial losses.

Source: The Montana Standard, "Montana wife sues after husband's shooting death," Dec. 22, 2013

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