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Murder or Wrongful Death?


Each wrongful death is heartbreaking and unique. There are always nuances to understand. I have helped loved ones left behind after a loss successfully obtain compensation to help them find justice, prevent similar losses for others, and move forward in life.  

Difference between murder and wrongful death 

Most wrongful death cases have nothing to do with murder. Murder is a criminal charge applied where a lawyer representing the government accuses a defendant of an intentional killing. A murder is generally charged and prosecuted when a death occurs as a result of another party’s deliberate action or intent, and must be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal court. Its purpose is to punish the person responsible for the death.  

Wrongful death is a civil claim filed and pursued by family members of a victim, and must only be proven to be more likely than not a result of the defendant’s negligence. Its purpose is to compensate the family members who experienced a loss.  

In most cases, it is a government lawyer who decides whether to pursue a murder charge against a defendant. Family members of the victim would almost certainly have a voice in that decision, but the final decision to pursue a murder charge in a criminal court is likely not theirs to make. That means, due to the much higher burden of proof applicable in criminal courts, that family members of murder victims may not get any justice at all through the criminal court system. In such cases, a wrongful death lawsuit may be the family’s only hope for even an acknowledgment of wrongdoing.  

It could be both

Since criminal and civil court systems are different, it is possible to pursue a civil lawsuit against a defendant, even if that defendant has been found not guilty in a criminal court. The most iconic example of this is the O.J. Simpson case, where Simpson was found not guilty of the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in the criminal case, but was found liable for their deaths in the civil suit brought by the families. 

Why you should hire a Colorado wrongful death attorney 

As overwhelming and all-consuming as a death in the family can be, it is important that you get in touch with a wrongful death attorney as quickly as possible if you feel the death is the result of another’s negligent actions. Securing evidence and meeting every deadline will never be more critical to a successful outcome.  

A wrongful death attorney can provide you with an important support system as you navigate life without your loved one and as you seek to right this wrong. You can focus on grieving and important arrangements as I navigate the legal system for your case.  

Consultations are free, and there is no obligation to do anything other than talk about your options. Call 303-339-8846. You can also schedule your free consultation with me at my office, at your home, or another convenient location by clicking here.