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What Is Manslaughter?

When one person is implicated in the death of another, it is rarely a simple process to determine what really happened in the situation. One of the most important questions to answer is whether or not the person responsible planned on causing the death of the victim. If it can be proven that the person acting set out with the specific intent of killing the other, that person may be charged with murder. But if the person did not intend on killing, or was provoked into sudden action, the charges may instead be for manslaughter.

Convicting someone of murder requires more than proving that one person acted to kill the other: it requires proving the intent to kill. Even though it is less severe than murder, voluntary manslaughter still involves the responsible party having it in mind to cause death or serious harm to the victim. But what if the responsible individual did not intend to cause death? This is where the lesser crime of involuntary manslaughter comes into play.

Involuntary manslaughter is typically divided into two categories: constructive manslaughter and negligent manslaughter. Constructive manslaughter occurs when the death is the result of illegal actions without the intent to kill, while negligent manslaughter occurs when someone fails to fulfill certain duties that would prevent a person’s death.

Throwing a TV through a hotel window is an illegal act to begin with, but the person responsible may also face constructive involuntary manslaughter charges if that TV happens to kill someone walking on the sidewalk below. A doctor whose recklessness leads to the untimely death of a patient, in contrast, may face charges of negligent involuntary manslaughter.

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If someone you know has been seriously injured or killed because of another person’s recklessness or negligence, you can take legal action against that person. Even if charges of murder do not apply, they should be held accountable for their actions. To get started, contact the compassionate Champaign personal injury lawyers of Spiros Law, P.C. today at 217-328-2828.