Is it very common to go to civil court over a self-defense shooting? Assuming the criminal court came out in favor of the person defending themselves.
It seems sort of uncommon simply because the dead attack can't sue. But I guess my question concerns his estate/family.
It's not uncommon. Once he's dead, he's a "lottery ticket" for a certain kind of person. Those who didn't know the side of him you saw but loved him, will want revenge; and there's a certain type of lawyer who puts his conscience in his wallet. I've done both officer-involved and civilian self-defense shootings where the estranged spouse suing the deceased for divorce, in one case with a restraining order to stop his domestic violence, sued the person because of their loss of his love and companionship and "loss of consortium."
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