A wrongful death refers to the death of someone or something that is caused by negligence or recklessness of another person or entity. In order to receive financial and emotional damages, the immediate family members of the victim can file a wrongful-death lawsuit or claim. This includes parents, spouses, children, and other family members of the victim.
Research Houston wrongful death attorneys to find the professional advice that you need. To ensure a successful outcome, a qualified wrongful-death attorney will provide the following information.
The Four Elements
According to law, there are four elements that constitute wrongful death. To win financial recompense, survivors must prove that each element was met by the claimant or filed a lawsuit. These are the four essential elements:
- Negligence– The surviving family members or legal representatives must show that the death of their loved ones was caused by the negligence, carelessness or recklessness of the defending party.
- Breach of Duty– In order to be successful in the case, the defendant in a lawsuit for wrongful death must prove that he owed a duty the victim. A motorist, for example, has a duty of care to follow all traffic laws and drive safely. Doctors and other medical health professionals have the responsibility to ensure a patient’s safety. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant was owed a duty and that they breached it through their negligence.
- Causation– The lawsuit plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached their duty to the deceased.
- Damages– The victim’s death must have caused quantifiable damage such as hospitalization, funeral and burial expenses, lost income, potential earnings, loss, protection, guidance, inheritance, pain and suffering, and loss of future income.
These points must be proved in court by way of a wrongful-death lawsuit. This requires strong convincing evidence and expert witness testimony from a skilled attorney who specializes in wrongful-death cases.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
Lawyers who specialize in wrongful-death claims and lawsuits are frequently involved in cases involving common causes such as:
- Accidents involving automobiles, trucks and motorcycles
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Product defects
- Hazards and occupational exposure
- Premises accidents
- Criminal actions include shootings, stabbings, and blatant violence
- Supervised activities include day care, adult care, and field trips
- Abuse and neglect in nursing home and assisted living facilities
The Burden of Proof
A wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal case. This means that the burden of proof for wrongful death cases is lower. The lawsuit must be won on the basis of the preponderance rather than the criminal standard of being guilty beyond reasonable doubt.
There are many steps involved in pursuing civil action for wrongful death. These include developing a strategy and speaking with experts. Witnesses can be contacted. Researching tort law is also important. These are the steps to follow in a civil action for wrongful death.0
The Legal Process
This could include mediation, demands and possibly a settlement of the claim. A lawsuit can be filed if an agreement fails to reach a settlement.
When a plaintiff brings a wrongful death case to court, it is not necessary that the plaintiff present sufficient evidence. Instead, the plaintiff should focus on credibility and the quality of the evidence. It is important to find a competent attorney who can help you build a strong case and ensure that your burden of proof is met. The plaintiff may lose the suit and will not be able to recover damages.
Because wrongful death claims can be complex, it is essential to have an experienced attorney. Communicating with clients is key to success. They work together to reach a common goal, which is obtaining sufficient financial compensation. An experienced lawyer will defend the client’s rights and present a strong case to support the four elements of a wrongful-death claim.
Damages available in a Wrongful Death Judgment Family members of victims may file a wrongful death claim to obtain compensation for different types of damages. These damages could include:
- Punitive damages for death caused by criminal activity
- Property damage
- Medical expenses incurred as a result of this death
- Loss of future income
- Loss of companionship or love from the deceased.
Wrongful Death Claim Requirements
You must meet certain requirements before you can file a case for wrongful death. You must also gather evidence that supports your claim. It is required that a death certificate be signed and certified by a coroner in such cases. Witness testimony or evidence must also be presented to prove that the death was caused. Families must also show that the wrongful death caused their members severe emotional and economic pain.
This process can take several months, up to a year, or even longer.