If you lost a loved one due to an accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim to vindicate the legal rights of a deceased victim. Those who are thinking about filing this type of claim should speak with an attorney. A wrongful death attorney can help you determine whether you should file this type of claim or a survival action.
1. Proving Wrongful Death Claims
To be successful in asserting a wrongful death claim, you will need to prove the elements that make up this type of claim. You will need to show that a death resulted from the accident involving the victim. If the victim is still alive, then you may not file a wrongful death claim or survival action.
2. Proving the Element of Negligence
Another element that you must prove is negligence. You will need to show that the defendant’s negligence is what caused the death of the victim.
3. Familial Relationship
Most states require that you prove some sort of close, familial relationship to the deceased victim. If you are merely a friend of the victim, you likely will not be able to recover damages.
4. Direct Impact
Family members must show that they have been directly impacted by the loss of the victim. There are numerous ways in which the loss of a victim can have an adverse impact on family members. If the victim was the main breadwinner for the family, then surviving members may have no source of income for bills, education expenses, groceries and other necessary expenses.
5. Duty of Care
The element of negligence has several elements within it that must be proven. You will need to be conscious of these elements and proving them before a judge or jury. In particular, you will need to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim. If the defendant failed to drive as a reasonable driver on the road, then he or she may have failed to uphold the requisite duty of care.
6. Breach of Duty
You will also need to prove that the defendant breached his or her duty of care to the victim. The breach occurs when a person fails to use the required level of care.
These elements must be proven if you decide to file a wrongful death claim. Failing to prove just one of these elements will cause your claim to fail.
Information credited to Cummings Andrews Mackay LLP, wrongful death lawyer.