January 11, 2022

Can I Go to Jail If I'm Being Sued for Wrongful Death?

Like personal injury claims, wrongful death claims are also civil legal actions that a plaintiff can take to secure compensation for the damages they suffered from a negligent party. The rules as to who can bring a wrongful death suit and how the process works vary by state. In Mississippi, the following parties are entitled to bring about a Mississippi wrongful death suit if negligence caused the loss of their loved one.

  • Surviving spouse.
  • Surviving children.
  • Children that are unborn.
  • Parents.
  • Siblings.

Depending on what caused the death, the eligible loved ones of the deceased can have either one year or three years to file wrongful death claims according to Mississippi’s wrongful death statutes. When negligence is the reason for a fatal incident happening, then the family of the loved one has three years. Otherwise, if there was intentional misconduct that lead to the death, loved ones have only one year. It is critically important not to miss the deadline for filing a claim because doing so can lead to a relinquishment of the ability to secure compensation.

, Can I Go to Jail If I'm Being Sued for Wrongful Death?, Germany Law Firm PLLC

How are Civil Wrongful Death Suits Different From Criminal Charges?

When a civil wrongful death suit is filed, the repercussions to the negligent party are only financial. The aftermath of these suits does not include incarceration. By contrast, in a criminal proceeding where a person is being criminally charged with homicide, for instance, should they lose their case they can be sentenced to jail and have to pay fines.

Criminal cases use a government prosecutor who tries to show guilt exists in the defendant. As a result, if the prosecution is successful at arguing their case, the defendant may be found guilty and given an appropriate punishment. In a civil case, the plaintiff is the party who is filing a claim against a negligent party for compensation. 

Sometimes, an incident can happen that has both criminal and civil implications for a defendant. Consider a drunk driving charge where the drunk driver kills another person. In this situation, drunk driving is illegal and unlawful. So, criminal proceedings are likely to follow and the seriousness of the criminal prosecution will depend on what happened in the accident. But, in this example, the family that lost the loved one may also decide to pursue civil action for compensation against the drunk driver and they can do this too. Civil and criminal cases that may be active at the same time are not dependant on each other. Meaning the outcome of the civil case has nothing to do with a guilty or non-guilty verdict.

Speak with a Jackson Wrongful Death Attorney

In total, a wrongful death claim in Mississippi will not be the reason for jail time. When there is a criminal element to a case, in this way, jail time may be a reality. To learn more about Mississippi wrongful death claims, please call the Jackson wrongful death lawyer at Germany Law Firm, PLLC today to schedule a free consultation at (601) 487-0555. Working through the wrongful death claims process can be challenging, but you do not have to do it alone.

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