Typically, if someone was acting in a way that was negligent and that negligence directly causes another person to die a wrongful death, the remaining family members of the person who died can usually bring a civil lawsuit forward to seek damages. When this happens, it is called a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death attorneys want you to know that it is best to work with an attorney who is familiar with these laws because each state usually has its own nuances. Additionally, because this can be a particularly emotional time for you and your family and you should be grieving your loved one, you should leave it up to wrongful death attorneys so that they can work on the legal aspects of the case.
What does a wrongful death civil case do?
This is a great question. Many people who do not have to experience a loved one passing in this way wonder if there is any point to a wrongful death lawsuit. It is true that a lawsuit like this will not bring your loved one back and it is also true that it may not help with the emotional side of the grieving process. That said, a civil suit may do you and your family good when it comes to receiving monetary damages. Unlike criminal charges (where a prosecutor may go after the defendant for punishment), you are seeking monetary damages for expenses you may have incurred while taking care of your loved one before they died and following their death. You would not pursue any kind of criminal charges for these types of damages.
What does the plaintiff need to prove in their wrongful death case?
There are certain elements that a judge will look for when it comes to a wrongful death civil lawsuit. Below, we have outlined some of the most common steps we take with our clients.
- Proving a Duty of Care. This is one of the first things that must be done. We need to show that the defendant owed your loved one (the deceased) a specific duty of care, whether it was to drive safely on the road or to maintain their property in a safe manner.
- Proving a Breach of Duty. The second step we will do is prove that there was a breach of duty that the defendant owed to your loved one. In the above examples, this means that the defendant failed to drive safely or failed to maintain their property.
- There Was Causation. Finally, we must show that both steps one and two caused your loved one to die. If the defendant’s actions did not directly cause the wrongful death, there is not sufficient evidence for a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you would like more information regarding a wrongful death lawsuit, please contact a wrongful death attorney in Longwood, FL now.
Thanks to David & Philpot, P.L. for their insight into personal injury claims and establishing liability for a wrongful death claim.