Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed by relatives and dependents of anyone who died due to a wrongful, illegal or negligent act. Wrongful death lawsuits follow civil procedures, even though they may stem from the same set of facts of a criminal trial.
Recently, a man was shot dead by the Billings, Montana, police when he tried to escape. The man was allegedly trying to get away from the scene of a crime. He had also allegedly struck a police officer and then tried to flee the crime scene in a police car. Now the wife of the deceased has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city and the authorities.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be initiated only by the dependents or relatives of the deceased. A plaintiff needs to prove that the death of the deceased has caused a personal loss that will affect him or her financially and emotionally. This is a major point of distinction between a criminal trial and a civil wrongful death lawsuit. While the criminal trial is initiated by state authorities, a civil lawsuit for wrongful death is initiated by one or more family members of the victim against a specific defendant.
The onus of proving a wrongful death action lies on the plaintiff or defendant who has initiated the lawsuit. There are three elements that must be proven in a wrongful death lawsuit. First, one needs to prove that the deceased died due to some unnatural cause. Second, the plaintiff must prove that the death was due to a wrongful or negligent act of the defendant. Lastly, the dependent or relative of the deceased must prove that he or she has suffered monetary and financial loss due to the death. Individuals may find it beneficial to consult with legal professionals in order to establish the elements of a wrongful death lawsuit.