If a person’s death is caused by someone else’s negligence, the deceased person’s surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim against the person responsible for death. There are several causes of wrongful death, such as criminal acts, car accident, medical malpractice and faulty manufacturing.
Who can and can’t pursue a wrongful death claim differs in every state, but the burden of proof is typically the same.
What Must Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Case
In order to win a wrongful death lawsuit, the person who brings the lawsuit must prove the following elements:
- Duty of Care. The defendant must have owed the deceased person a duty of care. For instance, all drivers are exposed to drive carefully and obey the rules of the road to keep everyone safe.
- Breach of Duty of Care. It must be proven that defendant breached the duty of care with his or her actions. For example, if a driver was texting and hit and killed someone, that driver breached the duty of care.
- Causation. The plaintiff must also prove that the breach of duty of care directly resulted in the death.
- Damages. The plaintiff has to prove to the court that the wrongful death resulted in damages that surviving family members have to be compensated for.
- Medical Bills
- Loss of Income
- Loss of Love and Companionship
- Pain and Suffering
- Funeral Expenses
- Property Damage
While it is possible to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit on your own, it isn’t recommended. Wrongful death claims can involve a lot of complications. You don’t want to deal with all that stress when you are mourning over the loss of a loved one. If you hire an experienced Charlottesville VA wrongful death lawyer, he or she may take care of everything for you and improve your chances of winning fair compensation. Many wrongful death lawyers also work on a contingency basis, so you don’t have to worry about owing yours any more if you don’t win your case.
If you want to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you may want to set up a consultation with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. He or she can review your case for free and get the claim process started right away.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from MartinWren, P.C. for their insight into wrongful death cases.