What Exactly is a Homicide?
For starters, not all homicides fall under the crimes category. Homicides comprise all killings involving people. Murders and man slaughters are homicides that violate criminal laws while others like murder in justified self-defense are not considered to be criminal. However, no matter the type of the homicide, it may also lead to a lawsuit being filed on wrongful death. While the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution clearly outlaws double jeopardy (a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice), the accused party can be tried separately for a homicide under criminal and civil laws. The nature of the lawsuit; whether criminal or civil, depends significantly on three things:
- the nature of the death
- how it was caused
- the ultimate responsibility of the entity involved
Understanding Wrongful Death
A wrongful death case is a case where an individual dies due to the deliberate or careless act of another person, or entity. Wrongful death laws came to being after the realization that there would be no way for a dead person to take legal action against the guilty party; so courts established a way for those that were deprived of their loved one to collect compensation for the loss. This has enabled many people to pursue justice for their dead family members and friends and in the process get compensation for their economic losses and overall pain and suffering. Besides, wrongful death claims are typically the only manner in which families of victims killed by establishments can seek compensation for damages.
Who Can Sue In Homicide Circumstances
In the case of death of a person caused by the neglect of another, suing for justice may be done by the following persons:
- The victim’s children
- Domestic partner
- Surviving spouse and offspring of deceased children
If there are no surviving children of the victim or the surviving spouse or domestic partner does not exist, the putative spouse is eligible. ‘Putative spouse’ is the surviving spouse of a void or voidable marriage who is found by the court to have believed in good faith that the marriage to the victim was valid. The putative spouse’s parents, stepchildren or children are also eligible. If the putative spouse does not exist, a minor who resided with the victim prior to the death for the previous 180 days in the victims household and was dependent on the victim for one-half or more of the minor’s support is eligible.
Therefore, there are many people that may sue for wrongful death.
Compensation For Homicide Victims
The financial support (if any) that the person would have contributed to the family during their life expectancy before death or the life expectancy of the person who is litigating, whichever is shorter. Compensation is based on the following:
- The loss of gifts and benefits that the person suing would have expected to receive from the victim of a wrongful death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The reasonable value of household services that would have been provided by the victim
- The loss of love, comfort, companionship, care, protection, assistance, affection and moral support that the victim would have provided
- The loss of guidance of the victim
Call For Action
Homicide compensation requires that the attorney in charge possess extensive expertise in the field. Your attorney will help you understand your rights and options in a homicide victims lawsuit. While no amount of settlement can replace the value of the lost family member, a good lawyer understands the dilemma and heartbreak of family members left to deal with the reality of a sudden loss of a loved one due to another person’s negligent act.