Actor Jim Carrey’s ex-girlfriend Cathriona White was found dead of an apparent suicide in September 2015, and Carrey is now accused of wrongful death by the woman’s husband. She and the Ace Ventura actor had recently split up after having an on-and-off-again relationship for four years.
Her death was caused by an overdose of several types of prescription pills, at least two of which Carrey is alleged to have obtained under an alias and then given to her. His lawyer contends that Carrey legally obtained the pharmaceuticals and used a fake name to protect his privacy as a celebrity, and the actor’s attorney also contends that White stole the pills from his client. Three of the four drugs in question were Propranolol, Ambien, and Percocet, respectively.
Complicating matters, some of White’s friends didn’t know she was married to an American cameraman named Mark Burton (whom she was planning to divorce in December). From Burton’s end, he claims Carrey is trying to cover up his involvement in White’s death where he supplied her with highly addictive, allegedly illegally obtained medication. White may have battled mental illness for years, which Carrey referenced in his official statement following her death.
It’s impossible for us to make any assertions as to what actually happened in this case, and it should be noted that any liability or guilt on Mr. Carrey’s part has yet to be proven. However, the case does raise the topic of wrongful death to the fore, which is certainly a discussion worth having.
The Difference Between Murder and Wrongful Death
Mark Burton is accusing Jim Carrey of “wrongful death,” which contends that a fatality of one person resulted from another person’s wrongful actions. This could be because of something the accused either did or failed to do. Murder could be considered a type of wrongful death, but not all wrongful death is murder. While murder is a criminal case, which can lead to prison time if guilt can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, wrongful death is a civil case that results in a financial award for the plaintiff.
For example, while former football player O.J. Simpson was found innocent of murder charges regarding the homicide of his wife Nicole Brown-Simpson and Ron Goldman. He was later found guilty of the wrongful death case brought about by the Brown and Goldman families. The punitive and compensatory damages awarded to them in that case were $33.5 million with responsibility for their deaths placed on O.J. Simpson.
Wrongful Death Compensation
If suing for wrongful death, there are calculations made to determine what the probable life span of the deceased would have been and what their lifetime earnings might have been. In a case like this, providing illegally obtained drugs or illegally sharing prescription drugs would constitute a wrongful and negligent act if it can be proven.
In a wrongful death suit, the plaintiff can receive compensation for the victim’s lost wages, funeral expenses, medical bills, and sometimes the family’s pain and suffering.
Work with a New York City Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have questions surrounding a wrongful death or other personal injury case, Greenstein & Milbauer, LLP are here to provide answers and sound legal counsel. Call 1-800-VICTIM2 (842-8462) toll-free or complete the contact form below and find out your legal options. We are dedicated to building the strongest case possible for our clients.