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How Do You Handle a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death occurs because of the negligence or direct actions of another party. When someone dies because of negligence, the surviving family members may have the right to pursue a wrongful death claim. Getting legal help from the very beginning is essential for ensuring the family receives justice. 

What Are the Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths?

Wrongful deaths occur for multiple reasons. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death include the following. Those who need legal help can discover more information from The Krist Law Firm

  • Medical malpractice
  • Birth injuries
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Occupational hazards and exposure
  • Criminal actions
  • Product defects

When someone dies, the family members have the option of getting legal help with their case. Because there are so many factors involved in pursuing a wrongful death claim, plaintiffs should not attempt to handle their cases alone. Getting legal help from the very beginning will protect the rights of the surviving family members and ensure their case receives the attention it deserves. 

Four Key Elements in Wrongful Death Claims

Before someone can bring a wrongful death claim, they must ensure the following four elements can be proven. If the family cannot back up the following elements with evidence, their wrongful death claim is likely to fail. 

1. Negligence

One of the first elements of any wrongful death claim is negligence. The death must have been caused in whole or in part by the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness. Criminal wrongful deaths can also occur because of a person’s unlawful and willful actions. 

2. Breach of Duty of Care

To pursue a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff will need to ensure they can prove the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. Plaintiffs must establish, with evidence, that a duty of care existed between the defendant and the deceased, and that it was breached by the defendant. 

3. Causation

Causation is an integral part of the process of pursuing wrongful death. In addition to the above, the plaintiff must also establish that the breach in duty of care was a direct cause of the victim’s death. Proving how the negligence of the defendant caused their loved one’s death will be the most significant burden on family members. 

4. Damages

It is not enough to prove the above, there is also a fourth element involved. The plaintiff of any wrongful death claim must demonstrate quantifiable damages. Some of these damages may include the following. 

  • Medical bills
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of income
  • Loss of companionship
  • Pain and suffering of the victim before the death

Understanding the Burden of Proof

It is important to note that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim and not a criminal one. Family members of the victim may bring this claim regardless of any criminal activity. 

Because wrongful death cases are civil in nature, the plaintiff’s burden of proof is lower. A wrongful death lawsuit may be won based on the evidence presented. 

Wrongful death claims are often difficult to pursue because of the emotions attached. Getting legal help from the very beginning ensures grieving family members have the legal support they need. 

Schedule a Consultation Appointment

Scheduling a consultation appointment is one of the most important things family members can do after the death of a loved one caused by negligence. No family should have to fight for their rights alone. With the statute of limitations clock ticking, now is the time to seek legal help. 

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Written by Robert James

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