When someone is accused of contributing to the death of someone through their negligent actions, they may face two different types of charges.  The criminal charges will argue that a crime has been committed, and the person that broke the law should be punished with incarceration.  In the civil suit, which seeks to reward compensation to the families of the victim, a person that has contributed to or caused the death of another, will be faced with a heavy financial amount that they will be ordered to pay the victim’s relatives.  Below, our wrongful death attorneys take a look at some of these most infamous wrongful death cases and the results.

The O.J. Simpson Case

In recent history, this has to be the most well-known wrongful death case.  After a very lengthy trial covered round the clock on television, O.J. Simpson was found not guilty in the criminal trial for the death of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend Ron Goldman.  After the verdict, the families of Nicole and Ron filed a wrongful death suit, which was held in civil court.  The families were awarded over $33.5 million.  This case has been tied up by the court, and neither family has received much of anything from the case.

The Death of Michael Jackson

In 2010, Michael Jackson’s father, Joe, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Dr. Conrad Murray, Michael’s personal physician.  He has testified that Michael had trouble with insomnia.  The doctor had administered regular doses of Propofol, which is an anesthetic given to patients before surgery.  It is not recommended as a sleeping aid.  Dr. Murray administered it in such a large dosage that it killed the pop star.  The suit that Joe Jackson filed was not successful.

Melissa Ducket (Nancy Grace’s Guest)

Nancy Grace, who works for CNN, was preparing for her talk show on CNN, when things took a turn for the worse when Nancy started to badger the young woman, who was a guest on the show and whose son had disappeared. Melissa killed herself before the show aired.  Her family received a settlement of $200,000 in 2010.  The money is to be paid to the child, if he is found. Since 2006, and to this day, no one knows his whereabouts.

1970’s Ford Motor Pinto Explosions

Ford may never live down the Pinto debacle.  Pinto’s were manufactured with a gas tank that was mounted to the car in the back.  When they were involved in an accident, it didn’t take much to turn them into an explosive, fiery blaze.  This endangered drivers, passengers, and first responders to accidents.  There were numerous wrongful death claims filed against Ford, and they were settled or adjudicated in court, and the car was taken off the market.

The Phil and Brynn Hartman Case

Many people loved comedian Phil Hartman… especially his work on the popular Saturday Night Live show.  It was shocking when the nation learned that he had been killed by his wife, Brynn.  After she killed her husband, she used the gun to kill herself.  Brynn had been taking Zoloft at the time, as treatment for panic attacks.  After her death, her brother sued Pfizer, the company that manufactures Zoloft, in a wrongful death suit.  Pfizer settled the case out of court, and the amount of the settlement has been kept secret as a condition of the settlement.

For more information, speak to a wrongful death lawyer at our law firm today.

By: Stephen Phillips

Stephen D. Phillips is the managing partner at the Phillips Law Offices in Chicago. He earned his Juris Doctor from Loyola University in 1985 and his B.A. from the University of Iowa in 1981. He is an extensively published writer and sought-after lecturer on legal topics ranging from medical malpractice to tort reform. Mr. Phillips is also the recipient of a number of awards and honors from various legal and community groups.