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The burden of proof: Jim Carrey accused of wrongful death

One month ago, Jim Carrey was sued for wrongful death by his former girlfriend’s estranged husband. The girlfriend committed suicide in September 2015 by overdosing on prescription drugs.

Her ex-husband, being her next of kin, filed a lawsuit against Carrey, blaming him for the death. An article in The National Law Review highlights the difficult of proving the wrongful death case against Carrey.

What is wrongful death?

Wrongful death means that someone was killed because of the negligence of someone else. In this case, the ex-husband is arguing that Carey’s negligence caused the overdose. As the next-of-kin, the ex-husband is able to file a civil suit, but the burden of proof is difficult.

Proving wrongful death

The difficulty of this case is that the plaintiff has to prove that Carrey’s negligence directly led to the victim’s death. The ex-husband says Carrey gave the victim Percocet and Ambien that was obtained under a false name, and did so knowing that the victim had a history of attempted suicide and depression.

The biggest hurdle for the plaintiff is that the death was a suicide, which is a willful act. The deceased made the decision to commit suicide, which makes it very difficult to prove that Carrey caused her death, even if he was involved in her acquisition of the pills.

Carrey and his lawyers argue that this is simply an attempt by the plaintiff to shake down a celebrity for a large payout. It’s possible that’s the case, but even if those aren’t the plaintiff’s motives, he is going to have a hard time proving that Carrey is responsible for the death.

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