Civil Wrongful Death Cases vs. Criminal Cases
Criminal cases can only be brought against an individual or entity by a government body. A prosecutor makes the case against the accused and seeks punishment such as a prison sentence. Prosecutors are obligated to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, which is the standard burden of proof in criminal trials.
Civil cases can be filed by anyone who has had their civil or private rights violated by another individual or entity. A civil trial does not automatically guarantee a person is guilty under the law beyond a reasonable doubt.
For example, in the prominent murder trial of O.J. Simpson, he was not found guilty in the criminal proceedings, but the decedents' families were able to file a civil wrongful death lawsuit and were awarded monetary damages. This is because civil cases do not have to prove guilt "beyond a reasonable doubt." In a civil case, the standard burden of proof is "by a preponderance of the evidence." Basically, this means that 51% or more of the evidence must support the claims brought by the survivors.
For more information or to schedule a consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney or wrongful death lawyer, send an email to the Georgia and Chattanooga wrongful death attorneys of McCamy, Phillips, Tuggle & Fordham, or call us at 706-508-4292.
Personal Injury · Wrongful Death Attorneys · Calhoun · Dalton · Chattanooga
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