Grieving families who have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence often seek justice and recompense through wrongful death claims. Plaintiffs in such cases must prove negligence in order to receive a monetary settlement or sue for punitive damages.
Proving negligence in wrongful death cases is a complex and difficult process, and it takes a knowledgeable legal team to navigate the minefield of evidence and rules of legal procedure.
Investigating Elements of Negligence in Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful death claims hinge on the discovery of negligence. To determine negligence, there must be what is known as a "duty of care," which is an obligation to act in a responsible manner, and a breach of that duty that led to an injury or death. Other factors, such as foreseeability and proximate cause must also be proven in order to obtain justice. As each case is unique, a lawyer experienced in wrongful death claims can best explain how the law applies in each particular situation.
Analyzing Duty of Care
Duty of care is an act of responsibility viewed from the perspective of a reasonable person. It requires people to act in such a way to prevent others from suffering any harm. This means that when performing a task, any foreseeable danger must be eliminated or avoided in order to prevent any harm to others.
Establishing Breach of Duty
A breach of duty occurs when a responsible party does not meet its expected obligations of care. To establish a breach of duty, it must be proven that the responsible party acted in a manner that deviated from the standard care prescribed in similar circumstances.
Proving Fault to Obtain Justice for Wrongful Death
In order to win a wrongful death case, it must be proven that a breach of duty caused the death of the victim. The evidence must demonstrate that the responsible party's action or inaction was a direct cause of the injury or death.
This evidence should provide a compelling representation of how the injury or death occurred and the manner in which the responsible party failed to meet its duty of care. This could include medical records, witness accounts, police reports and data from surveillance cameras.
Foreseeability of Injury or Death
Injuries or death must have been "foreseeable" in order to demonstrate negligence was the cause of the wrongful death. This means that if the responsible party should have reasonably anticipated that his/her actions or inactions could lead to an injury or death, it is considered foreseeable.
Establishing Proximate Cause
Proximate cause is the intermediary and immediate cause of the injury or death. This means that the actions or inactions of the responsible party must be connected to the injury or death in a direct way. For example, a death caused by a failure to monitor a patient's health could be considered a direct result of negligence, while a death resulting from a lack of information would not.
Gathering Evidence to Win Your Wrongful Death Claim
The gathering of evidence is one of the most important aspects of a wrongful death case. Evidence must be gathered and reviewed to prove the elements of negligence and the responsible party's fault. The evidence should be trustworthy, relevant, and provide a clear picture of the circumstances surrounding the wrongful death.
Medical records are an important source of evidence for wrongful death cases. They provide evidence of the deceased's prior medical history, treatments and medications, and any other related information that may be relevant to the claim.
Witness statements and interviews are often used in court hearings to establish negligence. The witness should have firsthand knowledge of the events leading up to the death and the circumstances surrounding it.
Surveillance footage can be used to demonstrate the responsible party's inexcusable negligence. Footage from security cameras can capture what happened in the moment of the offense and provide a credible witness to support the case.
Finding an Experienced Legal Team to Protect Your Rights
Obtaining justice for a wrongful death claim can be a complicated and overwhelming process, so it is important to find a lawyer with experience in wrongful death cases. These attorneys know how to assess the negligence involved, present evidence in court, and negotiate settlements. A qualified legal team can offer guidance and support during the wrongful death claim process and help the family obtain justice and the compensation they deserve.
Navigating the court system and proving negligence can be difficult especially if the loss of life has been caused by a negligent party. For this reason, it is essential for families to work with a qualified legal team to ensure their rights are protected and justice is served.