The death of a loved one brings its’ fair share of heartache, but when that loved one has been murdered, it can be shocking. Family may be trying to sort out how to move forward and searching for closure after such a horrific tragedy. You may be looking for justice to be served, or to feel like the guilty has paid for the crime they committed. It may be possible to file a wrongful death claim against the person who committed the crime. It will be imperative to acquire a wrongful death attorney to help carry out the legal process. With their help, you may be able to receive compensation for the suffering you have endured and begin the healing process.

Criminal Trial vs. Wrongful Death

Wrongful death cases when someone is murdered greatly differ from a criminal/murder trial. Wrongful death is a civil suit that is brought forth by the surviving members of the family. Descendants will hire their own private attorney to represent them in the matter. In a civil suit, while you may sue for punitive damages, the person who committed the crime will not be at risk of going to prison if found guilty in the civil suit. When a person is withstanding a criminal trial, the state’s attorney presents the case to the court. In a criminal trial, the defendant will likely be imprisoned if found guilty.

Requirements for Filings a Civil Claim

In order for a family member to file a wrongful death claim, the family must be able to prove that the other person was intentionally negligent. In a situation where the loved one has been murdered, showing that someone intentionally killed the person is key. There are a few different things required to receive compensation due to their passing. Two requirements for a strong civil claim include:

  1. Proving that the person deliberately killed your loved one.
  2. Family must be able to show that they have suffered as a result of their loved one’s passing. An example of this may be medical expenses for mental health treatment or compensation for wages lost if the person who died was the breadwinner of the family.

If faced with the murder of someone you love, a wrongful death attorney is essential. It is not an easy process to go through but, with a personal injury lawyer Harrisonburg trusts on your side, you will be able to take the space needed to grieve while they handle the legalities. Filing for wrongful death can vary from state to state; an attorney can ensure that the appropriate documents are submitted to the courts correctly and in a timely manner.


Thanks to our friends and contributors from Martin Wren, P.C., for their insight into personal injury.