Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful Death Lawyers Of Texas

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Is Wrongful Death Civil Or Criminal?

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Have you lost a loved one due to someone elses negligence?

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The Difference Between A Wrongful Death Lawsuit & A Criminal Charge

If someone is killed because of the negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing of another party, it is considered a wrongful death. There are various situations that can lead to wrongful deaths, such as car accidents, nursing home abuse, pedestrian accidents, slips and falls, swimming pool accidents, bicycle accidents, assaults, violence, and sports and recreational activities. When a wrongful death occurs, there are two legal options available: a civil lawsuit for wrongful death and a criminal prosecution.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits vs. Criminal Prosecution

A criminal case pertains to a breach of one or more laws, and it can only be initiated by the government. The charges in a criminal case may involve offenses like murder, homicide, or manslaughter. If a person is found guilty in a criminal case, they can face various punishments, including imprisonment.

On the other hand, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil matter that is filed by the family or estate of the deceased. The aim of such a lawsuit is to obtain financial compensation for the wrongful death of a family member. The family can receive compensation for economic losses like loss of financial support and funeral expenses. Additionally, intangible losses such as loss of love, guidance, and support can also be compensated through a wrongful death lawsuit.

Why You Should File A Wrongful Death Claim In Civil Court

Although the driver at fault may be facing charges in criminal court, a civil case can be significant for the surviving family members for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the burden of proof is not as high in a civil case. Unlike in criminal court where the defendant has to be proven guilty “beyond reasonable doubt,” in a civil case, guilt only needs to be shown “by a preponderance of evidence.” This means that the defendant is more likely guilty than not, which is easier to prove.

Secondly, the surviving family members can receive compensation to cover the financial costs related to the death of their loved one. If the driver responsible for the death is found guilty, they may be required to compensate the family for funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, emotional pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and lost wages that the deceased could have earned. If someone has lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, they may be able to file a wrongful death claim, which can provide both justice and compensation to help them move forward. If unsure about the validity of their claim, they can contact our legal team for a free case review.

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Criminal Charges Occur In Civil Court

While not all deaths are caused by criminal activity, if foul play is suspected, the state’s prosecutors may bring charges against the individual believed to be responsible for the death, and these cases are handled in criminal court. The main goal of a criminal case is to determine whether the accused person violated the law when they caused the death of another. If found guilty, the individual is likely to receive a prison sentence or another type of punishment as per the law. The most typical charges associated with causing someone’s death include first-degree murder, second-degree murder, and vehicular homicide.

Wrongful Death vs. Criminal Homicide

The solution is to file a wrongful death lawsuit, which is a particular kind of personal injury claim recognized by the state of Tennessee. Since the deceased person cannot bring a lawsuit, the right to file a wrongful death claim lies with the victim’s surviving spouse, estate, or next of kin depending on the situation.

Wrongful death lawsuits are distinct from criminal proceedings and can be filed even if the responsible party has already been tried and found guilty in criminal court. Moreover, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit even if the defendant is never charged with a criminal offense.

It’s worth noting that the standards of proof for civil and criminal trials are different. In criminal cases, the defendant must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, but in a wrongful death civil case, the jury’s verdict is based on whether it is more likely than not that the defendant is responsible for the victim’s death.

Can You File A Wrongful Death Suit If You Have Already Filed Criminal Charges?

It is possible to bring both criminal and civil suits, but it is important to note that they have different standards of proof. Criminal cases require proof “beyond a reasonable doubt,” while civil cases only require a “preponderance of evidence.” As a result, it is not uncommon for a family to lose a criminal case but win a wrongful death lawsuit because it is easier to prove. This was the case with O.J. Simpson, who was acquitted of murder but found liable for the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and ordered to pay $33.5 million to their families.

Can A Wrongful Death Claim Be Filed In Addition To Criminal Charges?

When someone loses a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, they may file a wrongful death claim to receive compensation for their suffering. These claims are typically civil suits and are applicable to accidental harm caused by events such as car accidents or workplace accidents. However, in situations where intentional harm is involved, such as in violent crimes, criminal charges may also be brought against the perpetrator. In such cases, the victim’s family may also be eligible to file a wrongful death claim and the criminal charges may provide evidence to support the claim.

  • Car Accidents

If a car accident leads to someone’s death, it may be treated as vehicular manslaughter, but regardless of the legal classification, the victim’s family can still receive compensation. In cases where a family member is lost in a collision, the negligent driver can be held responsible through a wrongful death claim, even if they also face criminal charges.

  • Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice cases are different from other types of cases because criminal charges are uncommon. When a patient dies as a result of a doctor’s negligence, civil action is usually the appropriate route, and it is less likely that the doctor will face criminal charges. For criminal charges to be brought against a doctor for medical malpractice, the victim must prove that the doctor intended to cause harm or was extremely careless to the point where they knew the patient’s death was likely.

  • Work Accidents

If a worker dies while on the job, their family may be able to make a wrongful death claim, but the compensation available may be restricted by the state’s workers’ compensation laws. In general, employer negligence resulting in a worker’s death is not considered a criminal offense. However, if the death is caused by intentional harm or misconduct by the employer, they could face criminal charges and be held responsible for wrongful death damages.

  • Criminal Activity

If a death is the result of criminal violence, it is not only possible but advisable to file a wrongful death claim, as the criminal charges can support the claim for compensation. Having evidence that the offender has been charged with a crime in connection with the death strengthens the case for receiving compensation.

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may have a wrongful death case, and you can reach out to the Wrongful Death Lawyers of Texas for assistance.

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What Impact Do Criminal Charges Have On A Wrongful Death Claim?

Even if the government does not file a wrongful death lawsuit, family members can still pursue civil justice, and a criminal conviction does not necessarily prevent them from doing so. In fact, a conviction in criminal court may even strengthen their civil claim. Evidence that is strong enough to secure a conviction or persuade someone to plead guilty in criminal court is likely sufficient to meet the lower standard of evidence in civil cases.

Statutory Guidelines In Texas Wrongful Death Cases

Acting within the appropriate timeframe is crucial when pursuing legal action in a wrongful death case. In Texas, the statute of limitations ranges from one to three years, depending on specific circumstances. Therefore, it is important to consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. Under Texas law, wrongful death claims can cover both tangible and intangible damages. Typically, the decedent’s estate may seek compensation for medical expenses, funeral costs, and pain and suffering. Additionally, family members who are recognized by the statute may pursue their own individual claims for wrongful death when they lose a parent, child, or spouse.

An Attorney Can Protect Your Legal Rights

Attorneys at The Wrongful Death Lawyers Of Texas has extensive experience in handling cases related to wrongful death. They can assist you in comprehending the relevant laws, advocate for your rights, and pursue legal solutions to ensure that you receive fair compensation as per the laws of Texas.

Contact A Texas Wrongful Death Attorney

The law firm, Wrongful Death Lawyers of Texas, provides a complimentary case evaluation to determine if you have the basis for a wrongful death claim. You can contact our office to schedule an appointment. Our lawyers handle wrongful death cases and other types of personal injury cases on a contingency basis. This means that if we agree to take on your case, you will not have to pay us a fee unless we recover damages for you. Attorney fees will be deducted from the final settlement.

To get started, call Wrongful Death Lawyers Of Texas at (888) 294-2981 to schedule your free case evaluation.

The Time to Act is Now 


Act now for a free consultation from our top-rated legal  team to discuss any rights or compensation that you may be entitled.

We will fight to get the maximum compensation owed to you for your injuries and losses.

Complete The Form Or Call – (888) 294-2981

Attorney Advertising. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. The information you obtain at this website is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls or communications. However, contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us unless and until an attorney-client relationship has been established, which will be via a signed, written, retainer agreement. This website contains articles and commentary regarding certain jury verdicts. However, a jury verdict often does not reflect the actual amount that a plaintiff receives. Judges often reduce jury awards. Sometimes Judges add attorneys’ fees and other damages to awards. As a result, final awards or settlements, are often for different amounts than the amount awarded by the jury. Many of the jury awards discussed on the website, ended up being dramatically reduced. The depictions on the website that portray lawyers/clients are models and are not the actual lawyers/clients of the firm. The scenes depicted on this website are fictionalized.