Wrongful Death as a Criminal Matter

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A wrongful death claim exists when a person dies due to the legal fault of another person. When a wrongful death occurs as an intentional act by another (such as homicide, murder, manslaughter) or as a result of a criminal act (burglary, DUI) the case is usually handled as a criminal matter. A person may be prosecuted criminally for causing a person’s death (whether in the form of murder, manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide, or some other theory) and that person can also be sued civilly in a wrongful death action. Probably the most notorious case is that of O.J. Simpson who was acquitted in the criminal trial yet convicted in the civil trial where the standard of proof is much lower. The victim’s families were awarded substantial amounts in that particular case.

Wrongful death cases of this nature can be complex due to the difference in standards of proof between the civil and criminal trials.
The following case is one in which the deceased’s family believes that there is no need for the civil trial to proceed in that the defendant has already been convicted in a criminal trial.

Ex-wife’s family wants to avoid trial in wrongful death suit against Drew Peterson

An attorney representing the family of Drew Peterson’s third wife, Kathleen Savio, in a wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson argued Thursday that a Will County judge should rule in the Savios’ favor without a trial.

Judge Michael Powers heard arguments Thursday morning regarding the Savios’ motion for a summary judgement.

Powers said he would issue a decision in 30 days.

In December 2012, the Savios’ attorney filed the motion because of Peterson’s murder conviction and because a Will County judge found after a 2010 court hearing that prosecutors had established that Peterson likely killed Savio. During that hearing on the use of hearsay evidence, Peterson’s uncle, James Carroll, admitted that he turned all of Savio’s estate assets over to Peterson after she died, at Peterson’s request, the Savios’ motion says.

In September, a Will County jury convicted Peterson, 59, of killing Savio in March 2004 in her Bolingbrook house while the couple were finalizing a divorce. He was sentenced in February to 38 years in prison.

If you’ve lost a family member to a violent crime and you need the services of a Personal Injury Lawyer in Los Angeles please contact us at (323) 947-2224 or visit the Personal Injury section on our website at the DAG Law Firm. Call today and we will connect you with Daniel A. Gibalevich, an experienced, aggressive, affordable Personal Injury Attorney in Los Angeles. After you have spoken with our Los Angeles Personal Injury Law attorney, we can schedule you a free face to face appointment to discuss your circumstances. If you have questions or are considering any aspect of Personal Injury Law, we can help! Call us now at (323) 947-2224. We look forward to hearing from you and assisting you with your wrongful death lawsuit.

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