Criminal and civil cases serve different purposes. If your loved one died in a pedestrian crash, then it is important to know about both types of claims.
Even though you are the one mourning your loved one’s death, you do not have the right to bring criminal charges against the driver who killed your loved one. Only the government can charge someone with a crime.
After a pedestrian crash, the government may charge the driver with vehicular homicide, for example, if the driver was drunk, drag racing, or driving recklessly when the driver killed your loved one. The government will bring vehicular homicide charges, or other criminal charges, to protect the people of Iowa. Depending on the circumstances of the accident, the driver could face significant jail time and have a felony on his record if the government can prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
The driver’s sentence may bring you comfort and a sense of justice, but it will not provide you with financial compensation for your loss.
Civil Wrongful Death Case
A civil wrongful death case, unlike a criminal case, is meant to compensate your loved one’s family for the unimaginable loss of your loved one’s death. It is up to the personal representative of your loved one’s estate to prove that the driver’s negligence caused your loved one’s death. The standard of proof is lower than it is in a criminal case. The representative of your loved one’s estate must prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence rather than by the beyond a reasonable doubt standard. In other words, the personal representative must prove that it is more likely than not that the driver’s negligence caused your loved one’s death.
If the personal representative can prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence, then your loved one’s heirs can recover damages for:
- Any medical expenses your loved one incurred from the time of the crash until the time of death
- Funeral costs
- Lost income from the time of the accident until what would have been your loved one’s expected retirement date
- The loss to your family
- Emotional suffering
- Other damages you can prove are directly related to the accident
To find out more about your rights, please contact an experienced Iowa wrongful death lawyer today. We would be pleased to provide you with a free, no-obligation consultation at your convenience.