Are wrongful death and homicide charges the same thing?

When an individual dies due to the actions or conduct of another person, the surviving party may be charged with a crime related to the deceased party's death. Depending upon the type of conduct that the surviving individual engaged in his charges may be relatively minor or may include multiple serious offenses. In Montana and other jurisdictions throughout the country a party may face homicide or murder charges if he is responsible for causing the death of another person.

However, not every death results from a murder and the law distinguishes between true crimes and other instances where deaths are accidental or unintended. Since many homicide charges require parties to intend to commit murders in order for the charges to be proven, if a party simply engages in negligent behavior that results in a death then it is possible that his actions may not support a murder charge.

If a person dies but it is not a homicide, the surviving relatives of the deceased party may still have recourse against the individual or individuals who caused their loved one to lose his life. While homicide charges are handled by the criminal court system, wrongful death claims are civil claims that private parties can file on their own for the recovery of damages related to their losses.

A wrongful death is a death caused by negligence or recklessness. It is often a preventable death, and it is not uncommon for wrongful death claims to be made in the wakes of fatal car, motorcycle and aviation accidents. A wrongful death claim may be brought by certain members of a deceased individual's family so that they may pursue compensation for the devastating losses they experienced when they lost their loved one. To begin a wrongful death lawsuit, readers may wish to consult with their Montana-based personal injury attorneys to discuss their cases.