If you feel that someone you love died because of something another party did, then you might just be able to file one wrongful death lawsuit. It is also possible that there is a manslaughter element in your case. Note that both manslaughter and wrongful death lawsuits are possible at once. If a manslaughter lawsuit has resulted in the defendant’s acquittal, then you might still be able to take the other route. First things first, you must understand the definitions of both murder and manslaughter.
What is Manslaughter
Basically, this is the unjustifiable and inexcusable killing of another person without malice, deliberation and premeditation. It can be involuntary or voluntary manslaughter. The latter is an offence, but in contrast to popular belief, it is no less significant form of murder. In fact, the difference between both is that murder should involve “malice afterthought”, while it may be absent in manslaughter. As such, the latter is a relatively less serious offence. However, it is extremely different from justifiable or excusable killing, which entails a much lesser punishment, and at times it carries none at all.
Understanding the distinction between involuntary and voluntary manslaughter is important, and this is also defined by general law. In the case of the former, there was no intent involved to induce serious physical harm or even demise. However, the latter does not entail this intent. If premeditation or deliberation is present, then it becomes a murder case. In many states, the terms “involuntary” and “voluntary” does not exist anymore; rather, they speak of manslaughter of different degrees.
What is Wrongful Death
In contrast to manslaughter, filing a wrongful demise lawsuit is no criminal proceeding, but a civil one. The loved one(s) of the demised person can file it. If you are entitled to do so, then you should rather do it as soon as possible. That is because there is a timeframe within which you have to file the lawsuit, except as otherwise provided by statute. In California, this deadline is two years, but there could be situations where one may be entitled to file it even after the timeframe has passed.
Wrongful death actually comes under the US tort law. The term “tort” refers to a civil wrong. In civil law, tort is a reason for a lawsuit to compensate a party for any injuries or damages suffered.