A wrongful death claim follows a concept that allows the heirs of a person who has died because of the negligent acts of another to file a civil lawsuit. If you find yourself in a position where you need to file a wrongful death claim, you need to understand the basics of these cases even after hiring a wrongful death lawyer. Here's a look at what you should know before filing a wrongful death claim.
What Are the Causes of a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death occurs due to another person's negligence. This is when the at-fault person acts recklessly or is intent on harming or killing. Many causes of wrongful deaths occur around the workplace.
The most common causes of wrongful death are medical malpractice, commercial vehicle accidents, and workplace-related accidents. Some wrongful death cases also arise because of product liability, criminal acts, animal abuse, and neglect. The first thing before filing a wrongful death claim is to determine its primary cause.
Who Are the Parties in a Wrongful Death Claim?
The person who makes a wrongful death claim is the plaintiff, while the one accused of the wrongful death is the defendant. In many cases, the plaintiff is a dependent, sibling, or close family member of the victim. The plaintiff files the lawsuit on behalf of all the relatives of the deceased.
In case the deceased had a will, the plaintiff is usually the executor of their will or estate. A plaintiff in a civil wrongful death claim normally seeks damages from the defendant. However, in a criminal case, where the death of the deceased was intentional, the plaintiff seeks justice in the form of the defendant's punishment.
What Do You Need to Prove?
After filing a wrongful death lawsuit, your wrongful death attorney needs to prove various elements for the defendant to pay damages or go behind bars. You need to prove that the defendant was negligent and their negligence led to the death of the deceased. You need to prove duty of care, breach of duty of care, and causation.
Proving duty of care means that the deceased owns the defendant a duty of care. For example, in a workplace accident caused by a slippery floor, the employer is liable because they had the duty to ensure the workplace conditions were safe. You also need to show that the defendant breached their duty of care. In the example, you need to show the employed breached duty of care by allowing workers to operate on a floor filled with slippery agents like water or paint.
Finally, causation means you must prove that the deceased died due to the defendant's negligence. In the same example, you need to show that the deceased died when they slipped on the floor, and there were no underlying medical conditions that may have contributed to their death. Reach out to a wrongful death lawyer to see if you have a case.