A ‘wrongful death’ is a legal term describing the death of an individual caused by the misconduct or negligence of other people or entities. Typically an immediate family member(s) of the deceased victim will seek a wrongful death claim to obtain compensation for emotional and financial damages.
There are 4 key elements involved in a wrongful death as defined by law. Surviving members submitting a claim must prove each element to win a case for financial compensation.
The surviving family members or their legal representatives must prove that the death of their loved one was caused (in part or in whole) by the misconduct, carelessness, or negligent actions.
Breach of Duty:
To be successful, it must be proven that the defendant owed a duty to the deceased victim. For example, the duty of a motorists is to drive safely and follow traffic laws. Doctors have the duty to maintain a patient’s health. It’s up to the plaintiff to establish how the defendant's duty was breached through negligent actions.
In addition, the wrongful death lawsuit plaintiff must also prove how the defendant’s negligence caused their loved one’s death.
The death of the victim must have generated quantifiable damages such as hospitalization, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of income and potential earnings, guidance, and inheritance along with pain and suffering of the victim prior to death.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action and not a criminal case, because of this, the burden of proof is set lower. In order to be successful, the lawsuit must be won on the preponderance of evidence as opposed to the standard set in a criminal case of being guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Selecting a skilled lawyer is an essential component when pursuing a civil action for wrongful death case.
Attorney Charles Bendig has won numerous wrongful death cases and can assist you with any questions or concerns you may have. Call today.