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Lessons To Be Learned From Michael Jackson’s Wrongful Death Case

by Rebbeca Binder on October 1, 2013

Some people grab the public spotlight and hang onto it for dear life, even after death, and not always in a good way. Such is the case with Michael Jackson. Love him or hate him; everybody knows who he was. The King of Pop’s untimely demise in 2009 made international headlines, and the ensuing criminal and civil trials threaten to drag on into 2014. The wrongful death case, which is directed at concert promoter AEG as opposed to the criminally charged doctor, can teach us all some hard truths about wrongful death cases.

Facts of the Case
The long journey that is the Michael Jackson wrongful death suit began in June 2009 when the music star died after taking a surgical anesthetic, propofol, to help him sleep. Dr. Conrad Murray was Jackson’s personal doctor, and he assisted the star in getting propofol during what was to be Jackson’s comeback tour. Sadly, this tour never came to fruition since Jackson was found dead in a mansion that he was renting in Los Angeles.

Dr. Murray was eventually found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, but this wasn’t the end of the legal aspect of Jackson’s death. Promoter AEG eventually came under fire and found itself in a wrongful death lawsuit against the star’s mother and children. AEG is accused of negligence because they hired Dr. Murray as Jackson’s physician. The suit seeks up to $2 billion in damages.

What can be learned

There are an array of lessons that can be taken away from Jackson’s death, and many of these lessons are related to the wrongful death case that AEG is facing. Many people would say that Jackson’s own actions led to his demise, and even the Jackson family lawyer concedes that the star was partially at fault for his death. As can be seen from the fact that the case has progressed, however, partial negligence doesn’t always revoke a family’s right to recover damages.

Wrongful death suits are brought forward, just as in Jackson’s case, when an entity displayed some form of negligence that led to death. The Jackson family attorney claims that the star was 20 percent at fault for his own death, but he also asserts that the remainder of fault lies with the defendant. Since most states are considered “comparative negligence” states, this means that AEG could be held liable for 80 percent of the losses caused by Jackson’s death.

Though AEG didn’t directly kill Jackson, wrongful death looks at negligent actions rather than actual criminal intent. This is basically what happened with Dr. Murray. Manslaughter occurs when a person dies in part due to another person’s negligence. This is the same with wrongful death cases. The only difference is that AEG may have to provide compensation rather than face jail time like Dr. Murray did.

Steps to Take

If your loved one dies due to another’s negligence, the first thing your family should do is contact a wrongful death attorney. This isn’t like a car accident where it’s possible to secure a positive outcome simply by filing a claim. Wrongful death cases are complex and often difficult to prove.

A legal professional, such as a New York wrongful death lawyer, will know the exact steps to take. In many cases, for instance, it is important to bring forth a wrongful death suit after a criminal trial. A conviction in the trial could actually make it easier to recover compensation. Even if the specific negligent party isn’t found guilty of a crime, however, such as is the case with AEG, the evidentiary burden in civil cases is much lower than in criminal cases, and this means a family can recover monetary damages even if the negligent party isn’t criminally liable.

The death of Michael Jackson is viewed as a tragedy by many throughout the world. His death was untimely, but it has certainly left many lessons in its wake. Unfortunately, people die every single day due to the negligence of others, and even if the decedent was partially at fault for their own demise, this doesn’t negate the negligence of others. This is why the best thing that a grieving family can do after negligent actions lead to a loved one’s death is seek out a New York wrongful death lawyer such as The Perecman Firm, or legal professional local to their area, who will be able to help pursue a claim for damages.

Rebbeca Binder

Rebbeca Binder

Rebecca Binder is a stay-at-home mom to two daughters. She has been a freelance writer for five years and enjoys writing on topics relating to law and consumer information. Aside from her writing and family, her hobbies include playing piano and fitness.
Rebbeca Binder

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