Can You Use a Criminal Conviction to Prove Wrongful Death?

Any wrongful death lawyer in Louisiana will tell you that most wrongful death cases involve negligence. One way to look at a wrongful death case is that it’s just like a personal injury case, only the plaintiff isn’t alive to file suit.

Most wrongful death cases are caused by the following things:

  • Car accidents
  • Fires
  • Dangerous drugs
  • Product liability
  • Medical malpractice

In these cases, your wrongful death lawyer in Louisiana will have to prove the following four (4) elements of negligence:

  • The defendant owed the victim a duty of care
  • They breached this duty
  • The victim died
  • Their death was caused by the defendant’s breach

Usually, the hardest part about these cases is proving causation. It’s not always enough that the victim died. You still have to prove that their death was caused by the defendant’s actions. However, not all wrongful death cases are caused by negligence. Some are caused by intentional acts.

What Kind of Intentional Acts Can Cause Wrongful Death?

Sadly, not all deaths are accidental. There are people out there who intentionally set out to harm other people. When they take things too far, people die. Although the defendant may not have intended to kill another person, if they intended to harm them, they’ll be liable for any injuries that result – including death.

Some of the intentional acts that may cause someone’s wrongful death include:

  • Gunshot or stabbing
  • Fistfight that results in the death of one of the people involved
  • Reckless endangerment
  • Murder
  • Arson

It’s important to take a look at each of these in brief detail. Your wrongful death lawyer in Louisiana can use proof of the defendant’s criminal conviction in civil court. This can go a long way toward proving that they’re civilly liable as well.

 Gunshot or Stabbing

Let’s say that your husband runs out to the local convenience store to get milk. While he’s there, an armed gunman comes into the store to rob it. They demand that the cashier give them the money in the register.

Your husband is standing directly behind the gunman. After screaming that everyone needs to get down, your husband panics and doesn’t get down fast enough. The gunman turns around and shoots his gun, shooting and killing your husband.

The gunman will be charged with murder and robbery. You can also file suit against the shooter for wrongful death.


If two people are at a baseball game and get into a fistfight, one or both of them may get seriously hurt. There are dreadful cases every year where a crowd of people get into a fight with opposing fans.

If this fight results in the death of any of the participants, the other people can be charged with manslaughter. If your loved one dies in this kind of incident, you can file suit against everyone involved for wrongful death.

Reckless Endangerment

Assume that you pay one of your neighbors to watch your kids while you’re at work. One day, they decide to take your kids with them to purchase drugs. They get high on the way back home, pass out and crash the car. As a result, one of your children are hurt and killed.

The neighbor will likely be charged with reckless endangerment and manslaughter. You can file suit against them for damages for the loss of your child.


One of the most popular cases of wrongful death for murder involved O.J. Simpson. The family of his late wife file suit against him for the wrongful death of their daughter Nicole. As most people know, O.J. was found liable for her death.

If someone kills your loved one, they can be sued for wrongful death. If someone is convicted of murder, they will more than likely be found liable in a civil case.


Some people intentionally set fire to their property in order to collect the insurance proceeds. If they do this and someone in an adjacent building gets hurt and dies, they can be found liable for wrongful death.

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer in Louisiana

If your loved one is killed by someone, you may have a claim for wrongful death. If the act is intentional, you may be able to collect punitive damages. Call Babcock Trial Lawyers and speak with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Louisiana to discuss your case.

Schedule your free initial consultation today. And remember – you pay nothing until your case settles.