The verdicts are finally in and Aaron Hernandez was found guilty of murder. He has been sent to prison for life without the possibility of parole. While the criminal justice system may be done with him, the civil courts are not. The family of the man he was accused of killing has a better chance of winning their wrongful death lawsuit that they filed back in December 2013.
The guilty verdict only fuels the lawsuit, now proving that a criminal court has found him guilty; therefore, he is likely to be held liable for the wrongful death, too.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death is a portion of personal injury law (or Tort law), that occurs when one person dies or is killed because of someone’s negligence or misconduct. In a murder case, Aaron Hernandez purposely killed the other individual; therefore, his surviving family members do have a potential case for wrongful death.
It is not uncommon for a wrongful death suit to be filed in conjunction with or immediately after a criminal case has been opened. Sometimes wrongful death lawsuits are not even opened until after the verdict is in for a criminal case, such as the OJ Simpson case.
Even if a person is found not-guilty in the criminal courts, they could still be found guilty in civil. In criminal courts, a person must be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but the same rule doesn’t apply in a civil wrongful death case.
But, a guilty verdict can almost always help the chances a family member will win their wrongful death suit. There are specific elements that must be met in order for a case to fall under wrongful death, which include:
- Criminal behavior
- Death during a supervised activity
- The surviving family members are not encountering monetary difficulty for the loss of their loved one
- The death was caused due to someone’s intent to cause harm
Do You Think You Have a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you have lost a loved one because of the purposely violence of another, you may have grounds for a wrongful death suit. It is best to speak with a West Palm Beach wrongful death attorney to have your case evaluated for free. The attorneys at Sternberg | Forsythe, P.A. are more than happy to meet with you for a free consultation.
Call our offices today to discuss your case.