Can I file criminal charges against someone for a wrongful death?

When you lose a loved one unexpectedly, it is always difficult to know how to respond. In many cases, it is possible to bring a wrongful death suit against some party that you believe bears responsibility for the death, but such lawsuits do not carry the weight of criminal accusations. If you win a wrongful death lawsuit, which is similar to a lawsuit you may file after receiving an injury in a car accident, you may receive compensation for your losses.

When grieving the loss of a loved one, monetary compensation is a small consolation, especially if the individual or individuals you believe hold responsibility for the death do not face criminal charges. It is often very frustrating for those who lose loved ones to learn that the general public does not usually have the power to bring criminal charges against another person.

Criminal charges arise from law enforcement such as the police or some other law enforcement agency, such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). While you may find opportunities to present compelling evidence of an individual's guilt to authorities, and those authorities may subsequently bring charges against that individual, private citizens do not have the power to bring criminal charges against another person.

If you have questions about your options when it comes to a wrongful death lawsuit, an experienced attorney can provide answers. Professional legal counsel ensures that you understand all the options you have available and guides you as you choose your next steps carefully. However you choose to move forward, you do not have to make the journey alone.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death FAQ," accessed Jan. 05, 2018

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