My wife died in a drunk driver car accident. Should I file a criminal or civil lawsuit? What’s the difference?
In a fatal car accident caused by a drunk driver, the at-fault driver would be charged with a crime, like a DUI or vehicular manslaughter. A legal case that can be brought against this driver is a criminal case. Such a case can only be brought by the government and the lawyer handling the case.
When prosecuting a criminal offense, there is a higher standard of proof required than in a civil case –say for instance a wrongful death case, as that would likely be the kind of case you may consider filing. A skilled wrongful death attorney can advise you on the process for a criminal lawsuit.
On the other hand, in a civil wrongful death case, anyone can file a lawsuit whose civil or private rights have been violated by another party. An example is a drunk driver causing a crash that kills someone where the drunk driver violated the right to safety for others on the road.
When a private party, such as a husband or wife, files a civil wrongful death lawsuit, they would be seeking compensation for the loss suffered and not asking for criminal sanctions, such as a jail term.
In some civil cases the judge may award a monetary penalty referred to as punitive damages against the at-fault individual. This is typically awarded because the defendant’s behavior was extremely reckless, egregious or malicious. Texas is one of few states that permits the awarding of punitive damage in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Other Wrongful Death FAQs:
- Am I able to recover medical expenses in my wrongful death lawsuit?
- Are a wrongful death claim and a survival claim the same thing?
- Are all costs associated with a wrongful death lawsuit award/settlement flexible?
- Are there certain types of compensation I may claim in a wrongful death lawsuit?
- Are there different factors at play that may impact how much I could be awarded in a wrongful death case?
- Can a wrongful death action be filed for an unborn baby?
- Can anyone file a wrongful death lawsuit? Or are there only specific people that may do so?
- If I file a wrongful claim in the death of my husband, what does an attorney need to prove on my behalf to allow me to get compensation?
- My sister was recently killed in an accident at her workplace that was caused by her employer not providing her with the proper safety training or equipment. Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit?
- Can punitive damages be awarded in wrongful death lawsuits?
- Do I need to hire an attorney to handle a wrongful death lawsuit?
- Does a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit have to be shared with all relatives?
- Does a wrongful death lawsuit have to be filed immediately after a death? Or is there a window of time allowed?
- Does every state have identical laws regarding filing a wrongful death claim?
- Does it matter how old the deceased is when a wrongful death action is filed?
- How are damages determined in a wrongful death lawsuit?
- How does Texas law define parents when it comes to filing a wrongful death claim/survival claim?
- How is economic loss calculated in a wrongful death lawsuit?
- How is non-economic loss calculated in a wrongful death lawsuit?
- How much time do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Texas?
- I am filing a wrongful death lawsuit and I am wondering if there is a cap on how much I am able to receive in damages/settlement in Texas?
- I am not legally married but lived with my deceased partner for over 15 years. My spouse was killed in a big rig accident. Can I file a wrongful death claim?
- I have been advised to file a wrongful death lawsuit as a result of my husband being killed at work by a colleague. What compensation may I be eligible for in Texas?
- If every state has a wrongful death statute, are they all the same?
- If I do file a wrongful death claim in Texas, what do I need to prove to possibly get compensation?
- If I file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas, what compensation is available to me?
- If I file a wrongful death lawsuit, what do I have to prove to be eligible for compensation?
- If I file a wrongful death lawsuit, what do I need to prove for a successful claim?
- If someone I know dies, do I file a civil or a criminal lawsuit?
- Is a survival claim and a wrongful death claim the same thing?
- Is a Texas wrongful death claim different from a wrongful death claim filed in New Mexico or another state?
- Is there a limit to the number of individuals who may file a wrongful death lawsuit?
- Is there a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas?
- Is there a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim?
- My brother was killed in an accident where the other driver was texting. I want to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Can I do that in Texas?
- My husband died as a result of medical negligence. Does Texas have a cap on damages in wrongful death lawsuits as a result of medical malpractice?
- My husband was killed at work by a falling piece of iron. Is this a wrongful death case?
- My sister was killed in a car accident caused by a drunk driver. Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit?
- My son was killed in an accident involving a drunk driver. He never had a job. If I file a wrongful death lawsuit, will it be thrown out because he never held a job?
- My wife died in a drunk driver car accident. Should I file a criminal or civil lawsuit? What’s the difference?
- My wife used to have a job, but she decided to stay home and raise the children. Can I file a wrongful death action if she did not have a job at the time of her death?
- My wife was killed in a car accident. I am a surviving family member. Am I able to file a wrongful death claim?
- Our son died before we were able to bring a personal injury lawsuit after a truck accident. Does that mean we cannot file a lawsuit?
- What are compensatory damages? Are they different from punitive damages?
- What are non-economic damages in relation to a wrongful death lawsuit?
- What are non-economic damages?
- What are punitive damages?
- What are survival claims?
- What are the common causes of a wrongful death?
- What difference does it make to a possible wrongful death lawsuit if there is more than one named defendant?
- What happens if someone dies before they have a chance to file a personal injury lawsuit?
- What happens to my award if there is more than one named defendant in my wrongful death lawsuit?
- What happens when there are multiple plaintiffs filing a wrongful death lawsuit?
- What is a survival claim?
- What is the concept behind a wrongful death lawsuit?
- What is the definition of a spouse under Texas law for the purposes of a wrongful death claim?
- What law do the courts in Texas follow in establishing a wrongful death claim?
- What types of damages are awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit?
- When someone files a wrongful death claim in Texas, what compensation may they receive?
- Who can sue for compensation in a wrongful death case?