When someone passes away due to another person’s misconduct or negligence, this can be considered a wrongful death situation. Family and friends of the deceased may find themselves angry, devastated and enduring pure agony at the realization that their loved one would still be alive today if not for the fault of another. While the deceased cannot come back, surviving family members may decide to seek financial retribution for the wrongful passing. During this time of immense heartache, it can help to meet with an attorney about legal options.
In this article, we have answered several questions people may have about wrongful death, and why seeking the assistance of an attorney may be necessary.
What are the elements of wrongful death?
In order for a wrongful death incident to be considered legally valid, there are certain elements that must be present. The legalities behind wrongful death can be very sensitive and fragile, as the amount of grief linked to the situation can be palpable. In court, the following four elements must be proven in order to win and be awarded monetary compensation:
- Negligence – surviving family members and their attorney must show how the death of the loved one was at least partially due to the defendant’s carelessness, negligence or intent.
- Breach of Duty – it must be shown that the defendant had an obligation or duty to the decedent.
- Causation – the plaintiff must also prove how the actions made on behalf of the defendant had led to the person’s death.
- Damages – after the death of the loved one, there must be losses that are quantifiable (including medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of protection, or pain and suffering prior to passing).
What are examples of wrongful death scenarios?
Perhaps the most painful part of wrongful death events is the fact that a person’s life was taken because someone else acted without care and now the family must grieve at the premature departure of their loved one. It is understandable that surviving family members would turn to an attorney on how to seek justice. Examples of common wrongful death scenarios include:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Criminal actions
- Work hazards
- Nursing home neglect
- Birth injuries
- Product defects or malfunctions
- Supervision accidents (children day care, babysitting, senior care)
What can a wrongful death attorney do for me?
One of the biggest challenges of wrongful death cases is bringing proof to light. Sadly, if a patient were to pass as a result of medical negligence, staff may attempt to destroy evidence to prevent from paying a substantial sum in a lawsuit. A wrongful death attorney to understands the ins and outs of the legal system, and can advise you on to go about uncovering key elements of proof. The right attorney should be both experienced in wrongful death cases, and empathetic to the pain you are going through during this time. The early passing of a loved one can cause very difficult feelings to boil to the surface. An attorney who is patient and compassionate should be the one to represent your case.