Is Wrongful Death a Civil or Criminal Case?

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Is Wrongful Death a Civil or Criminal Case?

If your loved one was the victim of a wrongful death, this can be a life-altering experience. For most people, the last thing on their mind is receiving compensation for the loss of their family member. However, you may be entitled to receive compensation, which can help you pick up the pieces after this devastating loss.

At The Law Office of Steven M. Krause PA, our experienced Anderson wrongful death attorney is dedicated to helping his clients get the compensation they are entitled to. So, keep reading to better understand whether a wrongful death case is a civil or criminal case.

What Is a Wrongful Death in South Carolina?

If you believe you have a wrongful death case, you may not know if it is a civil or criminal case.

There are different types of wrongful death cases, which include:

  • Negligence: This is when a death occurred because the defendant did not do what was necessary to prevent the accident. For instance, they may not have put out hazard signs, which caused a fatal accident.
  • Manslaughter: A manslaughter is when a defendant kills another person without malice. They may have been texting while driving, which resulted in the death of another person without the intention of killing them.
  • Murder: Another type of wrongful death is murder, which is a premeditated crime. A person commits murder, also called homicide, when they have full intention of killing another person.

It’s worth noting that murder and manslaughter can fall into the same category in South Carolina as they could both result in death due to reckless conduct.

Civil Vs. Criminal Wrongful Death Cases

A wrongful death claim begins as a civil case. This is different from a murder charge, which begins as a criminal case brought by a prosecutor. The purpose of a civil case is to represent the rights of the parties who were wronged, while a criminal case is meant to punish the defendant.

Wrongful death cases are presented to help the family members financially after the death of a loved one. The compensation is meant to cover things like funeral expenses, mental anguish, and loss of income and the love and companionship of the deceased.

In most cases, less proof is needed for a civil case. The requirement is to prove the negligence by a preponderance of the evidence as opposed to the criminal requirement of since the goal is to represent the victims. Wrongful death criminal charges require more proof since proving the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The goal is to come to a unanimous decision regarding the punishment of the guilty party.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

When a person dies of wrongful death, the case can be filed by their personal representative.

They may have named this person in their estate plan or will, or the court will name someone if this information was not included. Personal representatives are usually a family member or a surviving spouse.

Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If you have lost a loved one due to someone’s intentional or unintentional act, you should consider filing a wrongful death claim. Steven M. Krause has years of experience with wrongful death cases and is dedicated to helping victims get the compensation they deserve.

Contact Steven M. Krause today to have your case evaluated by filling out our online form or calling our offices at 864-225-4000.


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