Wrongful Death vs. Manslaughter in Texas: Similarities and Differences

Wrongful death or manslaughter case in court

Actions that cause the death of other people lead to manslaughter, wrongful death, murder charges, or negligent homicide. All of these carry severe consequences and penalties.

Texas law considers any death caused by the action of another person action to be a homicide. While not all forms of homicide are illegal, most result in serious legal charges.

Protect your rights by learning the differences and similarities between these offenses.

What is a Wrongful Death in Texas?

Research indicates that one person dies approximately every 2 hours and 21 minutes because of a car accident in Texas. While death is a natural part of life, wrongful deaths can steal your loved ones from you too early. Understanding what classifies as wrongful death in Texas can help you get justice.

Wrongful deaths are entitled to civil compensation for financial compensations, and only the decedent’s loved ones can file for a claim. 

Various unlawful and illegal actions support wrongful death claims in Texas, including:

  • Bike accidents 
  • Defective products 
  • Medical malpractice
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents 
  • Workplace accidents

Texas law clearly defines who can file a wrongful death claim. They are as follows:

  • Children of the deceased 
  • Spouse of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased 

The only other person allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit is the deceased’s representative. Keep in mind that the statute limitation of a wrongful death lawsuit is two years, so make sure you contact a lawyer before you miss the deadline. 

What is Manslaughter in Texas? 

If people engage in reckless activities that cause a fatality, it may classify as manslaughter. Most states categorize manslaughter as follows:

  • Voluntary- It contains intent to cause serious bodily harm or death
  • Involuntary- It does not have any intent to cause damage to the other person

Texas law, however, combines these two charges and issues different penalties depending on various aggravating factors. Under Texas law, manslaughter ranges from first-degree manslaughter to third-degree manslaughter. 

Only the state can file manslaughter on behalf of its people. For manslaughter conviction, the state has to prove that the person recklessly caused the death of another person. These cases aim to punish wrongdoers, typically through fines, jail/prison terms, or community service.

Understanding the Differences between Wrongful Death and Manslaughter 

Let’s take a closer look at the differences between manslaughter and wrongful death:

  • Wrongful death is a civil case, whereas manslaughter is a criminal case
  • Immediate family members can file a wrongful death case, whereas only the state can file a case for manslaughter 
  • Manslaughter seeks to punish the person who killed another, while wrongful death aims to compensate the surviving loved ones
  • Manslaughter requires proof beyond doubt, whereas wrongful death is easier to prove and requires less evidence 

Similarities between Wrongful Death and Manslaughter 

The only similarity between wrongful death and manslaughter claims is that both aim to bring justice to the affected family members through legal actions. In both cases, the state seeks to punish the wrongdoer. 

A manslaughter charge is a criminal charge brought in criminal court to punish an individual who killed someone. On the flip side, a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit conducted in a civil court to provide financial compensation. 

Seek Justice with the Right Lawyers — Contact the Aranda Law Firm, Today

If you believe negligence or intent contributed to the death of a loved one, consider taking legal action. Contact The Aranda Law Firm to determine if the circumstances surrounding the deceased’s case warrant a wrongful death or manslaughter claim. Our expert attorneys will carefully review your case to help you make the best decisions for the future.