How to Win a Wrongful Death Case - Everything You Need to Know
If a loved one was the victim of a wrongful death case, it is a devastating and life-changing event for the entire family. When somebody is responsible for the death due to negligence, surviving family members need justice. They deserve to claim compensation for their loss and to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. If you’re… Read More »
If a loved one was the victim of a wrongful death case, it is a devastating and life-changing event for the entire family. When somebody is responsible for the death due to negligence, surviving family members need justice. They deserve to claim compensation for their loss and to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions.
If you’re considering a wrongful death claim to seek justice for your loved one and to ensure your family gets the financial support you need, it can be a complex process. There are a lot of steps that go into filing a wrongful death case and several things that can make it unsuccessful. Here’s everything you need to know about winning your case explained by experienced wrongful death attorneys.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death occurs when a person loses their life due to another person’s negligence or recklessness. By not exercising the proper care that a reasonable person would have, that party is responsible for the victim’s death. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil suit brought against the responsible party to hold them accountable for the negligent death by demanding compensation for damages.
A wrongful death lawsuit can claim all damages the victim could have claimed in a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived, including lost wages. In addition, family members can also claim non-economic damages such as loss of companionship. The lawsuit may also secure monetary payment for funeral costs for the victim. Although nothing can bring a loved one back, surviving family members can get the compensation they deserve through a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Four Key Elements of Wrongful Death Cases
For a wrongful death claim to be valid and ultimately successful, it needs to fulfill all four elements of a wrongful death case:
- Negligence. If a party failed to use reasonable care within their scope of work, they were being negligent. It doesn’t have to be purposefully done. Negligence simply means a person did not exercise the same standard of care a normal person in that same circumstance would.
- Breach of Duty. The next element is to prove that the defendant owed a duty to the victim. For example, drivers have a duty to operate their vehicle safely or doctors have a duty to their patients’ health. You must show there was a duty present and that duty was breached due to negligence.
- Causation. In a wrongful death case, this element connects the breach of duty by negligence and the victim’s death. You must prove that the breach of duty directly resulted in the outcome of your loved one’s death.
- Damages. In order to bring a wrongful death case, there must be damages that followed the accident. Examples include medical bills, funeral costs, loss of income, loss of potential earnings, loss of guidance and inheritance, and pain and suffering.
How Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Work?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, a surviving spouse, child, or another representative of the deceased can sue for wrongful death. By filing a wrongful death claim, it allows the loved ones of the victim to claim financial compensation because the responsible party’s negligent actions caused the victim’s death. Because these types of lawsuits can be complicated and sensitive, it’s always best to seek legal support from an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
What Are the Common Causes of Wrongful Death?
Unfortunately, there are a number of causes for wrongful death. Some of the most common causes include:
- Automobile Accidents
- Airplane Accidents
- Medical Malpractice
- Product Liability
- Accidents at the Workplace
These accidents result in a wrongful death because of negligent or reckless behaviour. When a person has a duty and fails to fulfil that duty, accidents occur and people are victimized. That’s why the legal system allows surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim—to seek justice after a tragic accident that could have been prevented.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There is an order to who can file a wrongful death claim after the accidental death of a loved one. First, a surviving spouse has the legal right to file a lawsuit. If there is no surviving spouse, the victim’s children can bring the wrongful death suit. If there are no children, the parents of the deceased can decide whether they want to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you’re unsure who should file the claim for your loved one, speak to a wrongful death attorney before starting the process.
What Must Be Proven To Win a Wrongful Death Case?
In order to get the compensation, you need and deserve after a loved one’s wrongful death, it’s vital to build a strong case based on evidence and facts. You must prove all elements of wrongful death, including negligence, breach of duty, causation and damages, to win your case. If you have proof of all these elements, you are in a good position to get a fair wrongful death settlement without having to go to trial. Working with a specialized wrongful death litigation attorney will ensure you have everything you need to prove your case.
How Much Financial Compensation Can You Get in a Wrongful Death Case?
Every wrongful death case is different with unique circumstances surrounding the accident. Because these cases can vary so much, it’s difficult to state an average amount you can expect when filing a claim. However, you can expect compensation to cover all your damages, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Lost wages or profits
- Loss of relationship for spouse, child or parent
- Medical expenses
- Expense’s funeral costs
When preparing your claim, be sure you value your damages fully and have evidence to support your claim for compensation. This will help you get the maximum amount you are owed under the law.
How Long Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
The timeline for a wrongful death claim can take anywhere from a few months to several years. It all depends on each situation and how complex the case is. However, it’s important to note that most wrongful death cases do not go to trial. They usually settle out of court through expert litigation and negotiations.
Do I Need an Attorney to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Although it is not a requirement to have an attorney file your claim, it could be incredibly helpful to you and your family to have a legal expert’s support and advocacy throughout the process. Wrongful death claims can be long and complicated, often involving complex legal jargon and reluctant insurance companies. An experienced wrongful death attorney will help you through every step of the process and ensure you get the best results in your case.
Kyle Bachus is one of the founding partners of the Colorado law firm of Bachus & Schanker, LLC. He provides exceptional advocacy and support to clients throughout the state and across the country who have serious, pressing, and complex legal issues. He is committed to the rights and safety of their community and the consumers who make up their community.