When Personal Injury Becomes Homicide: How To Tell The Difference

Personal injury cases are pretty straightforward. Someone got hurt, and someone else is to blame and needs to take responsibility but will not. What happens when someone dies as a result of the injuries? Does that make the person responsible a murderer? There are lines that may be crossed over when an injured party becomes a corpse. It is then that the surviving family members should consult with a personal injury lawyer to see what will happen next.

Firefighters That Die in an Arson Case

Firefighters know the dangers of their work. They are not excluded from personal injury just because of the work that they do. However, dying in the line of work and then finding out that the death was caused by an arsonist, that crosses over into homicide territory. Similarly, any other deaths that were the direct result of someone causing an intentional accident that took the life of another person is not only personal injury law, it is homicide.

When There Is an Investigation

You should begin a personal injury case for your lost loved one as soon as it happens. All the information you can gather will be fresh in the minds of the police officers as well as the medical staff that took care of your family member. That makes it easier for your lawyer to determine how to best pursue the case.

If and when there is an ongoing investigation into the deaths of your family member and any others that were involved in incident, you will need to wait for the investigator's final report before moving ahead with your case. The outcome of the investigation can have a major impact on how your case is decided in court. If it turns out that there was intentional reckless activity involved, it becomes a homicide case.

If the Death Is a Homicide

If the death of your loved one is ruled a homicide by intentional "accident," then your personal injury lawyer can help to a point. After that, you may need a criminal lawyer to avoid any culpability with the accident that killed the family member. The personal injury lawyer can pass the case off to the criminal lawyer and you can proceed with your case from there.

If the Death Is Ruled an Accident

A lot of times, an accident is just that; an accident. If it turns out that the police and the coroner feel that your family member died as the result of a tragic accident, then you can still pursue your personal injury case. It may not be for the same reasons or even the same compensation, but at least you know you still have a case.