Proving that someone else’s careless or intentional actions caused the death of a loved one is not always easy. Although your family may be owed compensation for your tragic loss, you will need to prove your wrongful death case in court or to an insurer. You could benefit from having an experienced attorney gather the evidence you need and turn it into a compelling argument on your behalf.
At Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer, our legal team wants you to understand what it takes to build a strong case that offers you the best chance of helping you recover what you deserve.
4 Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Most wrongful death claims require you to prove the at-fault party’s negligence with the following four elements:
- Duty of care –A duty of care establishes that one person has a legal obligation to another, typically to prevent them from being hurt. For example, drivers owe everyone on the road a duty of care to avoid causing an accident. They must obey traffic laws and operate their vehicles with care. A duty of care is generally determined by what a hypothetical “reasonable person” would do in the same situation.
- Breach of duty of care –Once you’ve established that another party owed your loved one a duty of care, you must prove they violated that duty. If a driver got behind the wheel while drunk and caused a fatal accident, they breached their duty to operate their vehicle safely.
- Causation –It’s not enough to prove that a careless individual breached their duty of care. You must also establish that the breach directly caused your loved one’s death.
- Damages – You must establish that losing your loved one has caused measurable losses for which you can be compensated. These losses can be financial, as with medical expenses and lost income. But they can also be personal, such as lost affection and the emotional trauma you experienced because of your loved one’s death.
What Is the Burden of Proof?
If you file a wrongful death lawsuit, the burden of proof rests on your shoulders. This means that the other party is not assumed liable for your loved one’s death unless you can establish the four elements of negligence. You accomplish this by presenting enough evidence that suggests it is more likely than not that the at-fault individual caused your loved one’s death.
How a Lawyer Can Help Prove Wrongful Death
The compensation you can potentially recover from a wrongful death lawsuit is no replacement for the love and support of a cherished family member. However, it can provide you with financial security and justice for your loss during a challenging time.
If you’ve lost a loved one in an accident, talk to an experienced Phoenix wrongful death attorney at Silkman Law Firm Injury & Accident Lawyer today. We offer free, no-obligation consultations and look forward to hearing from you.