Four people were killed as a result of the terrible bomb explosions at the Boston Marathon on April 15, 2013: Krystle Campbell, Sean A. Collier, Lu Lingz and Martin Richard. Our sympathies go to their families. Many others suffered severe injuries including loss of limbs. Our sympathies go to them and their families as well.
Intentional Wrongful Death Claims
The Boston Marathon killings appear to have been planned events. In Florida (including Tampa Bay), there are sometimes cases where the injuries are not an accident but are directly planned by someone. A common example would be an intentional murder case. Intentional killings are usually tried in two courts – criminal courts and civil courts.
Criminal Case Goes First
There are deadlines for bringing wrongful death and survival claims so you can’t wait too long to bring these civil claims. Still, when there is a companion criminal case the criminal case usually goes to trial first for a variety of reasons. Some of the reasons have to do with concerns of the government and the rights of the defendant. Other reasons can be for the benefit of the civil claimant.
- The defendant has a right to a speedy trial.
- The standard of proof in a criminal case is higher than in a civil case. In a criminal case the standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In a civil case, the standard is “a preponderance of the evidence.” If a defendant is found guilty in a criminal case it’s a pretty clear indication he/she will be accountable in the civil claim – the wrongful death and survival claim. Often the civil attorney can directly use the finding of guilt in the criminal court to prove the civil claim.
- The government, through the police, investigative bureaus and the district attorney’s office usually investigates the case first. They often can investigate it better than the civil court because they have more resources and can compel cooperation.
The Civil Case
In addition to using the guilty verdict and the evidence obtained in the criminal case, civil claimants do have certain abilities to prove their case above and beyond those of the prosecution team. For example, civil claimants have the right to question the defendants in writing and through oral depositions.
In addition to all of the standard claims that can be brought in a wrongful death and survival action, claimants in intentional wrongdoing cases, in Florida, can ask for punitive damages. Normal wrongful death and survival damages are designed to compensate the victims. Punitive damages are designed to punish the person who committed the intentional wrongful act. Punitive damages are paid to the victims.
One of the tough issues in intentional wrongful death cases is collecting once you have a judgment. Some of the targets for recovery are:
- State or local funds may have available funds if the defendant has no funds.
- The courts can require that the victim pay restitution for some or all of the damages as part of the criminal sentence.
- Any current assets of the wrongdoer.
- Any future assets of the wrongdoer including possible wage garnishments.
In the Boston Marathon case a special fund is being established to help the victims and their families.
How our law firm can help?
If anyone you know is has suffered because of an accident (wrongful or intentional) let our law firm help you get the recovery you deserve. During this difficult time we will help you receive the maximum compensation allowed by law and we will assist you through every step of the case. Our team of lawyers works with medical professionals, valuation experts, technical experts and other lawyers. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or a death please call us at 1-888-WE-MEAN-IT (1-888-936-3264) or email us at: [email protected].