Legal Classifications of Death: What is a wrongful death? | Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp

A wrongful death occurs when a person dies as the result of intentional or unintentional actions or behaviors of another party or parties. For example, a driver who gets behind the wheel after they have been drinking and causes a crash that kills another driver.

In these cases, the next of kin of the victim can pursue damages in a wrongful death against those responsible. A wrongful death action is separate from any criminal charges the alleged at-fault party may be facing. In some cases, the at-fault party may not even be charged criminally, or they may be found not guilty. This does not affect the civil action.