How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
By Chris Dixon
When someone dies because of another person’s negligence, it can be difficult for the victim’s relatives to figure out who is liable for the accident, what actions they are eligible to bring on behalf of the deceased, and other elements of the wrongful death process. Consulting an experienced lawyer about the accident can analyze the situation, determine the best way to proceed with the victim’s wrongful death case, and offer support during this trying time.
Who Can File a Claim for Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death statutes and regulations vary for each state in the U.S., however, in most states, the spouse of a victim, their children, and parents have the right to file a claim for the victim’s sudden death depending on the circumstances of the accident. If a victim’s family members believe that another person’s negligence is responsible for the victim’s death, there are several options available for recovering damages. Depending on the state’s wrongful death laws, a victim’s designated heirs could file a wrongful death or survivorship claim to get justice for their loved one’s sudden death.
Wrongful death claims have the potential to recover compensatory damages for the surviving family members of a victim for any losses that occurred because of the accident such as loss of income, while a survivorship claim can obtain damages that might have affected the deceased prior to their death because of the accident such as pain and suffering. It’s essential to have a lawyer by your side when filing a claim. An experienced lawyer can determine which option is best suited to your case, use details from the accident to present a compelling suit, and offer a potential outcome for your case.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Case
There are many different ways that a fatal accident can occur, but in the case of wrongful death claims, the two most common causation’s are car accidents and medical malpractice. According to the Civil Justice Resource Group, an estimated 65,000 to 200,000 deaths are caused every year because of medical malpractice, and 46,000 people are killed annually in car accidents.
The most vital element in wrongful death cases is who is responsible for the accident happening in the first place. Proving liability in a wrongful death case can be done with several types of evidence. The most common types of evidence that are used to prove wrongful death are:
- Results from an autopsy report
- An official death certificate
- Evidence of the other driver’s negligence that caused the crash (driving under the influence, surgical or medication error, etc.)
- If medical malpractice is suspected, proof of a doctor-patient relationship; similarly, if the accident happened at work, proof of an employee-employer relationship
- Evidence that surviving family members have suffered a loss of income, consortium, or other damages as a result of the accident
It can be overwhelming to keep track of the different types of evidence that are required when proving wrongful death, but hiring a wrongful death lawyer to represent your case ensures that compelling evidence is gathered, a powerful claim is filed, and increases the likelihood of recovering compensation for the victim’s case.
Recoverable Wrongful Death Damages
With so many options for proving wrongful death, it can be confusing to figure out what damages you could be eligible to recover with a wrongful death suit for your family member’s unexpected death. Depending on a state’s wrongful death laws, immediate family members, or designated heirs, are entitled to the right to file a wrongful death suit, survivorship claim, or both, for a family member’s death caused by another person’s negligence.
If a wrongful death claim is successful, surviving family members of a victim could recover compensation for loss of income, pain and suffering, funeral and burial expenses, and other expenses that stemmed from the fatal accident. With a survivorship claim, immediate relatives could recover compensation for the victim’s damages caused in the accident before their death, but unlike wrongful death claims, compensation isn’t awarded directly to the deceased’s designated heirs. When a survivorship claim wins, damages are combined with the victim’s estate and dispersed with the rest of their assets.
Speak with a Lawyer About Your Wrongful Death Case Today
If you recently lost a family member in a fatal accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, but unsure of how to prove wrongful death, an experienced lawyer can provide support to you and your family during this stressful time. A wrongful death lawyer can alleviate concerns that you might have regarding the wrongful death process, quickly determine the causation of the victim’s death, and create a compelling plan to recover the maximum amount of damages from the negligent party.
It is impossible to put a price tag on such a terrible loss, but compensation can offset any financial difficulties that were caused by the victim’s death and get justice for their pain and suffering. If you are interested in speaking with a lawyer about your family member’s death caused by another person, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a free consultation and explore the options available to the victim’s case for proving wrongful death.