Wrongful Death Claims: The Four Elements That Must Be Proven


When a loved one passes away unexpectedly, you will be grieving and potentially dealing with the financial loss left in their wake. In order to seek justice and compensation, you may want to think about filing a wrongful death claim. Similar to personal injury claims, the burden of proof is placed on the plaintiff, and as with any other type of negligence lawsuit, your attorney will be responsible for showing four key elements. Keep reading to learn more about these elements of a wrongful death claim.

Element #1: Duty of Care

The first thing that must be proven is that the defendant owed what is called a "duty of care" to the deceased victim. Duty of care simply means that the defendant was responsible for the victim's safety. For instance, when drivers get behind the wheel of a vehicle, they have a duty of care to follow speed limit signs and other rules of the road. Therefore, any individual that is driving a vehicle should act in a reasonable and safe manner while behind the wheel.

Element #2: Breach of Care

Next, it must be shown that the aforementioned duty of care was breached in some reckless, negligent, or intentional manner by the defendant. For instance, if an individual's death is a result of medical malpractice, the alleged medical error that resulted in the death can be spoken about in professional and scientific detail by an expert witness.

Element #3: Causation

The third element that must be proven is how the death of the victim was a direct result of the breach of care. In other words, if this particular negligence was not part of the equation, the fatal incident would never have occurred. In some cases, the causation may be quite obvious. However, in other instances, extensive resources may be necessary to uncover the causation.

Element #4: Damages

The last element that must be proven is that the victim's wrongful death resulted in monetary damages. These damages can be anything from medical bills and funeral and burial expenses to lost wages and legal fees. The final settlement amount will be determined by figuring out the complete financial losses of all of the deceased's surviving dependents and beneficiaries.

A wrongful death lawsuit can be rather complex, particularly when you are in the grieving stage. This is not a process that you have to try to go through on your own, though. Get in touch with a wrongful death attorney in your area for assistance in seeking the compensation that you and your family deserve after what you believe may have been a negligent act that resulted in the death of your loved one.

To learn more, contact a wrongful death attorney.


13 August 2020

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