Homicide is a criminal violation under the Texas penal code, and may be called murder or manslaughter, depending on the severity of the crime. Although the family of a homicide victim may participate in the criminal case by providing information or testifying in court, charges are brought by a state or local prosecutor working for the government. Punishment for homicide can include prison, fines or probation.
Wrongful Death is a civil matter, brought directly by the victim’s family against the person or entity that caused the victim’s death through neglect, carelessness or wrongful behavior. Examples can included violating health and safety codes, reckless or distracted driving, and violent acts like assault and battery. The victim’s spouse, children or parents must file a wrongful death action in civil court, and can recover compensation only in the form of money damages.