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Wrongful Death And Criminal Cases: Get Answers To The Questions You Have

In certain situations, a criminal case may be filed against someone who you feel wrongfully killed your loved one. For example, if a drunk driver killed your loved one in a car accident, there may be a criminal case brought against the party. If this occurs, you may wonder how this impacts any wrongful death claim that you have filed or plan to file against that individual. Here are a few of the questions you may have about wrongful death cases and criminal cases. 

Can a Wrongful Death Case Be Filed if a Criminal Case is Filed?

Yes. A wrongful death case can be brought against someone, even if a criminal case is filed or is expected to be filed. One of the biggest misconceptions out there is that you cannot file a wrongful death claim if a criminal case is filed. However, a wrongful death claim is a civil proceeding, whereas a criminal case is a criminal one. Because of this, double jeopardy laws do not come into play. 

How Will a Criminal Case Impact a Wrongful Death Claim? 

If a criminal case is filed, it may impact your wrongful death claim. This is because the claimant may be hesitant to talk to be deposed in regards to the claim or settle, as this information can be used against them in their criminal case. Additionally, any information or evidence that is used in a criminal case can be used against them at your civil hearing, which may be beneficial to you. 

Should the Wrongful Death Case Be Settled Before or After the Criminal Trial?

Most attorneys recommend waiting until the criminal case is over to proceed with settling a wrongful death claim or taking it to trial. This is because the verdict in the trial and the evidence presented can be used to bolster your wrongful death claim. However, it is important to note that the statute of limitations doesn't stop ticking due to a criminal trial. As such, you need to ensure the claim is at least filed with the courts before the statute tolls or you run the risk of losing your ability to bring a case to court. 

Wrongful death cases that overlap with criminal cases can be a bit more complex than regular wrongful death cases. As such, you will want to hire a personal injury lawyer to assist you with your claim. Most personal injury attorneys offer a free consultation, allowing you to sit down and discuss your case with an attorney for free. Contact a wrongful death attorney to schedule your consultation today. 

Contact a company like Fitzsimmons & Vervaecke Law Firm for more information and assistance.