Legal Guide

Fight Your Wrongful Death Claim: Here's How to Get Started

After a victim dies as a result of injuries caused by another party, their family has the right to start a wrongful death lawsuit. The laws require the fatality to result from a criminal act, negligence, or a failure to provide a duty. When proving a wrongful death, the claimants must prove that fatality was avoidable, and the defendant is liable. The lawsuits are not the same as criminal cases where the state sentences the individual once the defendant is found guilty.  

How Did the Victim Die?

The first task for a wrongful death lawsuit is to determine exactly how the victim died. An autopsy rules conclusively and shows the precise cause of death for the victim. For the death to be rendered a wrongful death, the victim cannot die from natural causes that have nothing to do with the event referenced in the claim. To prove that the defendant is guilty of a wrongful death and liable, the autopsy must show that the cause of death resulted from the defendant's actions or negligence. Families can get answers about wrongful death over at now. 

How Was the Defendant Owe the Victim a Duty?

A duty indicates that the defendant was responsible for providing certain standards to the victim based on the event that caused the death. In a medical malpractice case, the doctor would have failed to provide a duty by presenting a lower standard of healthcare.

In a premises liability case, the property owner knew about a hazard and either didn't warn the victim or failed to correct the conditions, thus causing the victim's injuries and ultimately the victim's death. With a product liability case, the manufacturer didn't warn consumers about a risk or released a dangerous product to the public.  

Was the Harm Intentional?

In wrongful death lawsuits, the defendant must have performed an intentional act such as a crime or an act of malice and produced the fatality, or their inactions caused the death because of a failure to act or presenting the wrong treatment. All personal injury cases could result in a wrongful death lawsuit if the victim dies as a result of the accident or event.

When proving that the harm was intentional, the attorney monitors the outcome of a criminal case or tries to collect evidence that shows the defendant who was a doctor committed an act of malice. While criminal acts are often obviously intentional, an act of malice stems from a personal relationship with the victim or a deep-seated hatred or belief.  

Proving the Cost of All Damages

The family presents invoices for medical expenses, funeral costs, and other economic losses incurred because of the accident that caused the victim's injuries and then their death. Financial records from funeral homes, emergency rooms, and ambulance services are also viable proof to show how much money the family spent trying to save the life of the victim or incurred because of the fatality.  

Do Non-Economic Damages Apply?

In some wrongful death lawsuits, non-economic damages which are also referred to as tort-based awards are available to the family. If the victim suffered extreme pain, pain and suffering allegations are possible. A spouse that lost financial support because of the fatality could seek damages for the loss of support. The claimants review these possibilities with an attorney based on the circumstances of the fatality.  

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