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Austin, TX 78756-1415
What is the difference between wrongful death and manslaughter?
The main difference between wrongful death cases and manslaughter cases is how they are tried in court. Wrongful death cases are civil suits and manslaughter cases are criminal suits.
Manslaughter charges are brought forth by the state or federal courts and the defendant’s attorney must prove their innocence beyond a reasonable doubt. If someone is found guilty in a manslaughter trial, their sentences can involve anything from having to pay steep fines, serve time in prison or even receive the death sentence.
Austin wrongful death cases take place in civil courts and charges are filed by an individual or other private party. Unlike criminal cases, wrongful death attorneys do not have to prove guilt or innocence beyond a reasonable doubt; they really just need to present enough evidence that shifts the jury’s opinion to their side. Someone could win a wrongful death suit with the jury being only 51% sure that someone is guilty or innocent. Another big difference is that if the defendant is found guilty, they will not go to prison or face the death sentence. They will generally be required to pay the plaintiff for any losses they have incurred because of their negligent actions.
A very well-known example of the differences can be found in the OJ Simpson murder trial. We all know that Simpson was found not guilty in his criminal trial, but did you know that the family of Ron Goldman went after him in civil court after that? They accused him of the wrongful death of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman…and they won. Simpson was ordered to pay $12.5 million dollars to the Goldman family and his children with Nicole, Justin and Sydney.
Straight Law has years of experience with wrongful death suits and can help you determine the proper course of action for your case. In some instances, you may even be able to settle everything outside of court, saving a lot of time, money and stress. Call 512-454-1331 today for a free consultation.