Proving Fault for a Wrongful Death Claim
Dealing with a death of a loved one is never easy – more so if the death was caused by the negligence of another person or entity. However, survivors of victims of negligence can file a wrongful death claim. This claim can help keep the family on their feet and to deal with the terrible circumstances of fatal injury that their relative incurred.
So, what are the components of a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit should manifest the following:
*Cause of death due to another person’s negligence or an intent to cause harm to the said victim
*Monetary injury suffered by surviving family members
Here are the factors that must be proven – regardless of whether damages are sought due to negligence or wrongful death:
Negligence is proven when the defendant in question owed the victim a duty of care – when the safety of the victim was the obligation of the defendant. In wrongful death cases, the judge will decide whether the defendant owed the victim duty of care.
Breach of Duty
Once the judge determines that duty of care existed, the plaintiff must then prove that the duty of care was breached. For instance, negligent driving that resulted in the victim’s death might prove that the driver was distracted when the accident occurred. The driver was obligated to take care of the victim by driving safely, thus, this is a case of breach of duty of due care.
The plaintiff is responsible for proving the case of harm done was, in fact, a breach of duty. In the scenario mentioned, the plaintiff must be able to show how the defendant’s car caused the plaintiff’s death, and not another party’s negligence. If the plaintiff’s loved one was already deceased when the accident took place or had suffered fatal injuries, it is highly unlikely for the jury to be in the plaintiff’s favour.
Along with breach of duty and causation, the plaintiff must also prove that there were actual damages suffered by the decedent. When breach of duty as well as causation is proven, damages are automatically presumed by the court since the victim is already deceased. In some cases, the plaintiff can prove all the other elements, but still lose the case because the plaintiff either did not suffer any real harm or there is no sufficient evidence to prove the nature and extent of the alleged harm.
If you need a personal injury lawyer who has years of expertise and can represent you completely, call our office today at 1.855.905.9222.We offer free consultations.