Actions for wrongful death have a long history in the common law. Homicide was once a private matter giving rise to the blood feud and later to the wergild, whereby a money substitute replaced private warfare. With the development of criminal law the crown took jurisdiction over all killings. At a time when all felonies carried with them the death penalty, forfeiture of chattels and escheat of lands, the right to sue for wrongful death was scarcely of practical importance. This was especially so since felony included negligent killing, and even an accidental killing required the king's pardon if the unfortunate man was to avoid the legal consequences of his act
William H. Rose,
FOREIGN ENFORCEMENT OF ACTIONS FOR WRONGFUL DEATH,
Mich. L. Rev.
Available at: https://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr/vol33/iss4/4