Marion “Suge” Knight is a rap mogul accused of causing a fatal car accident outside of a fast-food restaurant in California. On February 2, Mr. Knight was charged with murder and attempted murder in connection with the accident. Reuters now reports that the widow of the man killed in the collision has also filed a wrongful death claim. This civil lawsuit is separate from the criminal proceedings and it names not only Mr. Knight but also Dr. Dre , Ice Cube, and Universal Pictures as defendants.
Criminal cases are brought by prosectors and are intended to punish for violating state or federal laws. Civil cases, like the wrongful death claim against Mr. Knight, have a different purpose. These cases are brought by individuals and the goal is to help those who have been harmed to be compensated while ensuring defendants pay for the actual losses they cause.
It is possible for someone to be found not guilty of a crime in a criminal trial, but to lose a wrongful death lawsuit for the same crime. The most famous example of this was the O.J. Simpson case where O.J. was found not guilty of homicide in criminal court but lost the wrongful death claim against him and was found liable for compensating the families of his victims.
Southern California Accident Leads to Wrongful Death Claim
Suge Knight was accused of carelessly hitting and killing a man with a pickup truck during a fight that took place in Southern California. The incident occurred after an argument on the set of the film “Straight out of Compton,” which tells the story of the rap group N.W.A. Knight had arrived on the film’s set to discuss how he was being depicted in the firm. Terry Carter, a Compton business man, came along to the discussion to try to ease tensions between Knight, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube.
Knight and a man named Bone, who was on the security team of the film, became involved in an argument when Mr. Knight went to the film set. The argument took place in a Tam’s Burgers parking lot, and Mr. Knight drove his vehicle in Bone’s direction.
Tragically, Terry Carter was in the path of the vehicle and was hit and killed. Mr. Carter’s widow alleges that Knight was careless, violent and reckless in his operation of the vehicle and should be held accountable for her husband’s death. The widow also claims that Universal Pictures, Dr. Dre and Ice Cube were aware of Knight’s violent tendencies and did not do enough to keep Mr. Knight from the movie set.
If Mrs. Carter is able to successfully prove negligence was the direct cause of her husband’s death, she may be able to recover wrongful death damages. Under California law, a wrongful death civil lawsuit aims to make family members and dependents whole for losses caused by a preventable accident. The civil case against Mr. Knight and the other defendants will proceed separately from the pending criminal case.
Civil Actions vs. Criminal Actions After Southern California Accidents
There are important differences between a civil and criminal case. In the civil case, Mrs. Carter will prevail if it is proved by a preponderance of the evidence that Mr. Knight and the other defendants breached their legal duty of care and that Mr. Carter’s death occurred as a direct result of their failure. In the criminal case, on the other hand, the prosecutor must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Knight was responsible for causing Mr. Carter’s death. The criminal standard is a stricter standard.
Call a Long Beach Personal Injury Lawyer for Help After a Death
As an experienced personal injury lawyer, I have helped many clients in civil cases meet their burden of proof. If someone you love was killed, a criminal case against the person responsible will not compensate you for direct losses- a civil case can. Give me a call to find out how I can help you make a claim.
Call the Law Office of Michael D. Waks at 888-394-1174 or use the convenient online contact form to schedule a free consultation. You are under no obligation and you will never pay any money unless you recover damages for your injuries. I offer bilingual services as part of my comprehensive approach to legal representation and I am available 24/7 to talk to you about your case.
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