Is Vehicular Manslaughter Wrongful Death?

March 28, 2024
Wrongful Death

It is never easy to lose a person that you loved. However, it becomes even more upsetting for families to lose a loved one as a result of someone else’s negligence. In the case where you have lost a family member as a result of an accident that has been caused by someone else and the individual is charged with vehicular manslaughter or vehicular homicide, you can get compensation as a result. Often time’s individuals are not sure if vehicular manslaughter and wrongful death are the same. So, is vehicular manslaughter wrongful death?

Even though the terms wrongful death and homicide tend to seem similar in actuality they are very different. Wrongful death is a civil matter while vehicular homicide is a criminal matter. The family of the victim together with their lawyer files a wrongful death lawsuit. When it comes to a homicide the state is responsible for initiating the case. Even so, the bereaved family may still be needed to serve as witnesses in the case.

If you are dealing with a wrongful death case you can talk to our experienced lawyer at Marks Law Group. Our compassionate wrongful death attorney in Decatur is always ready to listen and attend to you. We can help you evaluate your personal injury claim, find solutions, and figure out the next step when you schedule your first initial consultation.

Vehicular Manslaughter in Georgia

In the state of Georgia vehicular homicide can be classified into two categories. You can either be charged with first-degree vehicular manslaughter or second-degree vehicular manslaughter. The penalties that the offender receives for the crime will depend on how they have been charged. First-degree vehicular manslaughter is a felony and when an individual is charged for the offense they are likely to serve a prison sentence of 3 to 15 years. Additionally, they are likely not to be granted parole for a period of at least 1 year and they will most likely lose their driving license for 3 years.


A first-degree vehicular manslaughter repeat offender is likely to suffer harsher penalties and can face jail time of up to 5 to 20 years.

Compared to first-degree vehicular homicide second-degree vehicular manslaughter is seen as a lesser crime and it is a misdemeanor. The offense carries with it a fine not exceeding $1,000 and/ or 1 year in county jail. The family of the bereaved has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and sue the responsible party for damages regardless of whether the offense was first-degree or second-degree vehicular manslaughter.

Filing a Wrongful Death Case After a Fatal Auto Accident

When you lose a family member in a car accident the experience is hard and emotionally devastating. Even though money can’t bring back your loved one, the compensation that you will get after filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you take care of the financial burdens you may have incurred as a family. When you hold the negligent party responsible you may as well be able to have the sense of closure that you needed after a wrongful death accident and you may be able to move forward after loss.

Wrongful death is death that occurs as a result of an individual’s death which is caused by the negligent actions of either a person or entity. More than one person can be held responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death case is a civil case but in certain instances, the responsible party an as well faces criminal charges which even though both cases proceed separately.

Related Content: Vehicular Manslaughter Statistics in the U.S

Not everyone can file a wrongful death claim. Here are some of the people that file a wrongful death lawsuit;

  • Surviving spouse
  • Children of the deceased
  • Domestic partner
  • Parents
  • Siblings of the Deceased

Eligibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit will depend on the immediate relative of the deceased and also on succession laws in the state.

What Damages Can I Sue For in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The wrongful death damages that an individual can get will vary depending on the state where each individual is situated. However, an individual that has lost a loved one as a result of wrongful death can get compensated for a wide variety of losses.

Non-Economic Damages

Even though these types of damages are a bit more difficult to measure monetary due to their subjective nature an individual who has lost their loved one due to another person’s negligence can still get compensation for non-economic damages.

You can get compensated for the pain and suffering or anguish of the loved one that you lost. That is the pain and suffering that the deceased individual had to go through from the time the accident occurred or from when they were wronged up to when they died.

Compensation can be offered for lack of emotional support or a loss of consortium. This is compensation to the bereaved or family member that has lost the decadent person as a result of the loss of companionship, love, and support of their family member.


Compensation can as well be offered as a result of the minor children losing the guidance and instruction that their parents would have provided.

Economic Damages

It is easier to capture economic damages with a monetary figure. Even as this is the case for economic damages to be estimated you would need the help of a qualified economic or financial expert. Below are some of the monetary damages that can be awarded for wrongful death action;

  • Funeral expenses and burial expenses.
  • Medical expenses that have been incurred as a result of the illness or the injury that eventually caused death.
  • Loss of financial assistance that the deceased person would have been providing to their family members if he or she was alive.
  • The lost inheritance is what the decedent would have saved up and left their surviving family members.

Punitive Damages

If the defendant acted in a reckless or intentional manner and hence caused harm to the deceased or victim leading to their untimely death punitive damages can be awarded in most states. Punitive damages though awarded to the individual filing the lawsuit is meant to punish the offender or the wrongdoer.

What if Another Driver Has Killed My Loved One?

Most car accidents occur due to the recklessness or carelessness of a driver. In the case where the accident leads up to the death of an individual, it is likely for the driver to face criminal charges for vehicular manslaughter.

However, even if death occurs, not every case that leads to the death of an individual will result in the at-fault driver facing criminal liability. The district attorney at their own discretion after considering a variety of factors will determine if the at-fault driver will face criminal charges.

However, the plaintiff can file a wrongful death claim with the help of their lawyer and the at-fault driver and their insurance policy will have the liability for the wrongful death claim.

Call a Georgia Wrongful Death Lawyer Today

When a family loses their loved one they are faced with sudden and unexpected emotional distress and overwhelming burdens. For them to be able to make sound decisions about how and when they will enforce their legal rights so they can be able to seek compensation for wrongful death they will likely need skilled legal guidance from a qualified legal representative.

FAQ: How do you prove a wrongful death case in Georgia?

For a case, these sensitive family members need to be specific when seeking a personal injury lawyer in Georgia to help them file a lawsuit. Families should only put themselves in the hands of a wrongful death lawyer who has in-depth experience and sufficient resources that will enable them to pursue a wrongful death case.

It is important to choose a personal injury attorney or law firm that has years of practice in wrongful death cases and a proven track record and we can be that firm for you. We have helped numerous families who didn’t know where to start when filing a wrongful death case.

We know that the financial compensation you get for a wrongful case will not bring back your loved one but it can help ease the burden after the traumatic loss. Give Marks Law Group a call, we’d like to help.