Losing a loved one unexpectedly can be shocking. When your loved one's death is the result of someone else's negligence, coping with your loss can become even more tragic.
Wrongful death lawsuits are designed to help give your family access to the resources you will need to move forward after the passing of a loved one without financial burdens.
A successful wrongful death lawsuit requires that your attorney prove the four legal elements of negligence in court.
1. Duty of Care
The first element that must be established by your attorney in a wrongful death case is a duty of care.
You must be able to prove that the at-fault party had a legal duty to act as any reasonable person would and protect your loved one against injury or harm. Without this duty of care, you have no legal grounds for filing a wrongful death case.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
Once it has been established that there was a legal obligation between the at-fault party and your deceased loved one, your attorney must prove that the at-fault party breached this duty.
A judge and jury will ask themselves what a reasonable person would have done if presented with the same situation that caused your loved one's fatal accident. If a reasonable person would have acted differently, a breach of care exists.
Just because someone has a duty of care and that duty is breached doesn't mean their actions caused a fatal accident. Your attorney will be required to establish direct causation between the at-fault party's actions and the harm that was inflicted upon your loved one.
Only a direct link between someone's actions and your loved one's injuries can serve as a legal basis for a wrongful death lawsuit.
The final piece of the puzzle in a wrongful death case is proving that your loved one's untimely death caused measurable damages to your family. These damages can present themselves in many forms.
Financial damages may be incurred in the form of funeral expenses and hospital bills. A loss of your loved one's future earnings can also be a form of financial damage. You will also want to include emotional damages in your wrongful death claim.
An experienced attorney can help you evaluate your unique circumstances to determine which damages should be included in your wrongful death claim.
Negligence is an important part of any personal injury case. Allow your attorney to present evidence proving the elements of negligence exist, and your odds of winning a wrongful death lawsuit will increase.
Contact a local wrongful death lawyer to learn more about your case.