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Why civil cases sometimes provide closure

The families of Kentucky victims in second-degree manslaughter car-crash cases often also sue the criminal defendant. This subject may seem complicated at first, but the reasoning behind the idea is quite simple.

People tend to choose to pursue civil injury charges related to manslaughter charges for two main reasons. The first of these is often to secure adequate compensation for a loss. The second reason is that the burden of proof on the prosecution is typically less in civil cases than in criminal.

One thing to note is that the criminal law specifically includes motor vehicles in the definition of second-degree manslaughter. This could help the bereaved families obtain justice by securing jail time for the offender.

Regardless of criminal trial outcomes, successful civil cases are among the few methods to secure payments from the person responsible for a death. The Kentucky statutes define manslaughter in the second degree as a wanton act that causes death. However, the potential consequences for convicts of the Class C felony category that encompasses second-degree manslaughter do not include provisions for the monetary compensation of survivors. 

As explained on FindLaw, burden of proof is one of the significant differences between civil and criminal cases. In other words, criminal and civil courts could make different decisions, even when considering the same event and using identical evidence. 

Many families would prefer to see, above all else, the incarceration of a person responsible for wantonly causing their loved ones' deaths. However, the lower burden of proof and possibility for monetary penalties in civil cases may provide a sense of getting justice, even if a criminal court does not convict. 

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