Dealing with the death of a loved one is hard enough. Knowing that their death was a direct result of someone else’s negligence or misconduct can make the grieving process even worse. Fortunately, in these types of cases, a wrongful death claim can be established to provide financial support for surviving relatives that were dependent on the deceased in a financial and emotional manner.
Necessary Elements to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, there are specific elements that must be present. These include:
- A death must have occurred
- The death was a direct result of another person’s intentional harm or negligence
- A negative financial impact was suffered by surviving family members due to the death
- The decedent’s estate has an appointed personal representative
When you contact Dash Law, we’ll work to gather evidence and conduct research regarding your case. We’ll examine the facts that are present to ensure that all of the above elements are present in order to file your case.
What Must Be Proven in a Court of Law?
In order to actually be awarded monetary damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, there are four particular things that must be proven to the judge and the jury. These include:
Duty of Care
The first thing that we’ll need to prove in your wrongful death lawsuit is that the defendant actually owed the deceased a duty of care. This duty of care is going to vary depending on the specifics of your individual case. For example, let’s say that a drunk driver ran a red light and wrecked into a vehicle. The deceased was in that vehicle and died as a direct result of the accident. In this particular case, the drunk driver owed the deceased a duty of care in the form of obeying traffic laws.
Breach of the Duty of Care
The next element that will need to be proven for you to successfully win your wrongful death lawsuit is that there was indeed a breach of that duty of care. Following the example that we established above, the drunk driver breached their responsibility to obey the traffic laws. They did this when they ran a red light and when they were above the legal blood alcohol limit for driving.
The next thing that will need to be proven is that the deceased’s death was a direct result of the defendant’s actions. Just because you prove that the defendant had a duty of care and breached it, that doesn’t qualify you for monetary damages until you prove the element of causation.
For example, let’s say that the deceased had a heart attack while at the intersection before the drunk driver wrecked into them. In this situation, the drunk driver was not the direct cause of the deceased’s death, and you can’t be awarded monetary damages. However, let’s say that the deceased person’s death was a result of severe head trauma due to the accident with the drunk driver. In this case, the drunk driver was the direct cause of the deceased person’s fatal injury and can be held liable for monetary damages.
The last thing that you’ll need to prove is that you suffered losses due to the deceased person’s death. These losses can be both financial and emotional. Some include lost earnings, loss of consortium, and funeral costs.
Directly proving that the defendant is liable for wrongful death can be difficult without the assistance of an experienced lawyer. As the plaintiff in your case, you’ll have the burden of proof. This means that you have to effectively prove every element that we went over above in order to receive monetary damages from the defendant. It’s best to contact Dash Law to assist you in gathering evidence and proving your wrongful death case in a court of law.