The law is there to help protect citizens and individuals, and this includes providing justice, support, and compensation if a person is injured. In many cases, personal injury lawsuits can help victims access justice, and rewards are usually awarded in the form of financial damages and compensation, depending on the injury’s circumstances. This allows those who are injured by the recklessness, negligence, and misconduct of others to receive the justice they deserve and ensure that these actions are decried and punished by society, setting a stern example to anyone who may be tempted to follow the same path.
In some cases, however, the would-be victim of a personal injury case can no longer speak their truth, file their claim, and achieve justice. A wrongful death case occurs in situations that would usually make them applicable for a personal injury suit, but with one difference: the victim of the incident has died due to the action.
In these circumstances, the lawsuit will typically be filed by the loved ones of the deceased, usually a spouse, child, or blood relative.
What Do I Need to Prove to Be Successful in A Wrongful Death Case?
There are several key elements that need to be proven if you are hoping to succeed in your wrongful death case. These include the following essentials:
A Duty of Care
The first consideration is to determine whether or not a duty of care existed – this is essential to proceed. In short, this means that the defendant – or the other party – was in a position where they should have acted responsibly towards the deceased. Common examples include drivers, who have a duty of care to other road users by following the appropriate laws, or doctors, who have a duty of care towards their patients to prescribe the correct treatments.
The Duty of Care Was Breached
If you establish that a duty of care existed between the two parties, from the defendant to the deceased, you must prove that this duty was breached. Following the examples above, a driver could breach their duty by driving while intoxicated, while a misdiagnosis from a doctor would breach their duty of care to their patient.
Provided these two criteria are met; it must then be proven that the breach of duty of care was the direct cause of the deceased’s death. For example, the drunk driver caused a road accident, which ended in fatality, or the doctor’s failure to diagnose the condition resulted in the patient’s death.
It is worth noting that these three key elements are the same as those required to succeed in a personal injury case, and there are some similarities between the two claims. The critical difference is the outcome; in a personal injury case, the individual was harmed or injured. In the wrongful death case, an error or negligence cost someone their life.
If you are in need of an attorney for wrongful death, you can reach out to us for help.