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Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful Death Claim vs. Criminal Charges: Clarifying the Legal Distinctions

Sep 7, 2023 | Wrongful Death

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Wrongful death is a tragic event that often leads to confusion about the legal implications and distinctions from criminal charges. Understanding the differences between wrongful death claims and criminal charges is vital for individuals seeking justice for the loss of a loved one. This article aims to clarify the legal distinctions between these two areas under Texas law. We hope to provide you a comprehensive understanding of the unique characteristics and processes involved.

Wrongful Death Definition

In Texas, wrongful death refers to a civil claim brought by the surviving family members of an individual who died due to the negligence or misconduct of another party. The claim focuses on the compensation for the losses suffered by the surviving family members, such as financial support, companionship, and emotional distress.

Criminal Charges Definition

On the other hand, criminal charges are brought by the state against an individual accused of committing a crime resulting in another person’s death. Criminal charges seek to hold the accused accountable for their actions. Additionally, potentially resulting in criminal penalties such as imprisonment or fines.

Burden of Proof

Wrongful Death Claim

In a wrongful death claim, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff, typically the surviving family members. They must establish a preponderance of evidence, showing that it is more likely than not that the defendant’s actions or negligence caused their loved one’s death. The standard of proof is lower in civil cases compared to criminal cases.

Criminal Charges

In criminal cases, the burden of proof lies with the prosecution, and they must establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is a higher standard of proof compared to civil cases. The consequences for the accused can be severe, including imprisonment.

The Objective of Legal Action

Wrongful Death Claim

The objective of a wrongful death claim is to seek financial compensation for the losses and damages incurred due to the victim’s death. Compensation may cover medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and emotional distress.

Criminal Indictments

Criminal charges aim to hold the accused accountable for their actions and maintain public safety. These criminal penalties can range from probation or fines to incarceration, depending on the nature and severity of the crime.

Parties Involved

Wrongful Death Claim

In a wrongful death claim, the surviving family members bring the lawsuit against the responsible party, who can be an individual, a business entity, or multiple parties. The claim is typically resolved through negotiations, settlement agreements, or a civil trial.

Criminal Charges

The state or government brings criminal charges against an individual accused of a crime. The state’s attorney or prosecutor prosecutes the case and proceeds through the criminal justice system, involving pre-trial hearings, a trial, and potential sentencing.

Legal Procedures

Wrongful Death

Wrongful death claims are governed by civil law. This means they follow specific procedures and rules set forth in the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. The process involves filing a complaint, gathering evidence, engaging in negotiations or mediation, and, if necessary, proceeding to trial.

Criminal Charges

Criminal charges are subject to criminal law procedures. This involves gathering evidence by law enforcement, potential arrest, indictment by a grand jury, pretrial hearings, and a trial. The prosecution must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Understanding the distinctions between wrongful death claims and criminal charges is crucial when seeking justice for the loss of a loved one. Wrongful death claims are civil actions focused on compensation for the survivors. Where as, criminal charges aim to hold the accused accountable for their actions through the criminal justice system. By clarifying these legal distinctions, individuals navigating the complexities of a wrongful death case in Texas can make informed decisions. AS ell as, pursue the appropriate legal action to seek justice and obtain the compensation they deserve.

When faced with the tragic loss of a loved one due to wrongful death, it is crucial to seek expert legal representation to obtain justice and fair compensation. Contacting Walker Texas Lawyer for your wrongful death claim ensures that you have an experienced attorney by your side. He will fight for your rights. Additionally, James Walker has a deep knowledge and understanding of Texas law. Futhermore, he has a track record of successfully handling wrongful death cases. He possess the expertise to navigate the complexities of these cases. From gathering evidence to negotiating with insurance companies and advocating for your best interests in court, James Walker has you covered. With compassion and dedication, Walker Texas Lawyer will guide you through the legal process, providing support every step of the way.

James Walker is an award winning Houston wrongful death attorney. He will work tirelessly to help you obtain the compensation you deserve while offering the empathy and sensitivity needed during such a challenging time.


For more information, contact Houston’s accident law firm of Walker Texas Lawyer by calling (713) 552-1117.

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James Walker - Walker Texas Lawyer James Walker is a Personal Injury Attorney in Houston, Texas. He has over 40 years of legal experience and has helped over 25,000 clients. This means he has demonstrated his extensive knowledge of legal procedures. He knows how to handle insurance companies. If insurance companies refuse to give you a fair shake, they will take the insurance companies to court. He knows the law inside and out. He knows what he’s doing.

Walker will try to settle your case without going to court. But if that doesn’t work, he is ready and prepared to take your case before a judge. He is Houston’s Personal Injury Lawyer for a reason; he will fight for you, seek the maximum compensation on your behalf, and make sure you get what you deserve after an accident.