If you lost a loved one due to negligence, than you and your family may file a wrongful death lawsuit in their behalf. However, you should be prepared and learn about what happens during a wrongful death trial. You need to prove that your loved one was intentionally killed due to negligence or if somebody violated their duty of care towards them. You need to essentially represent your loved one as if they were still alive, and that can be tough.
But it’s not impossible. If you’re looking for justice for your loved one’s wrongful death, keep reading below. It will help prepare you for a trial, so you know what to expect when you file a wrongful death lawsuit.
You’re Not Alone In Experiencing A Wrongful Death
There is a myriad of different kinds of wrongful death lawsuits, and they’re more common than you would expect. This is because anytime somebody dies of anything other than natural causes, it’s wrong. And somebody can usually be sued because of it.
1. Motor Vehicle Accidents
Whenever someone dies from being hit by a motor vehicle, the driver can be sued. This is because the driver neglected to abide by the rules of the road, or was driving recklessly. It doesn’t matter if their actions were intentional or not.
2. Premises Liability
If somebody slips and falls in a store or any private property, the property owner can be sued. They’re required to notify people of hazards and deal with them quickly to avoid people getting hurt. If they don’t do that, they can be sued for negligence leading to wrongful deaths.
3. Medical Malpractice
Doctors can pay thousands of dollars with malpractice insurance, and for good reason. Medicine is a tough thing to practice–it can be easy to get something wrong, and it can cost someone their life. If that happens, doctors can be sued for failing to do their jobs, and their insurance will cover most of the lawsuit.
4. On-the-Job Accidents
Employers are expected to keep safe work conditions for their employees, and employers are expected to protect them. If they fail to do that, employees can lose their lives. If that happens employers can, and should be, sued by the people the employee leaves behind to ensure it never happens again.
These are just a few of the typical reasons people file wrongful death lawsuits. There can be thousands of reasons someone would claim a loved one died wrongfully, and they can all be valid. However, the person filing the suit would need to prove it in court.
The First Step: Proving The Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Once a wrongful death lawsuit begins, the plaintiff will need to prove to a court that the defendant caused their loved one to die. This can be as simple as pulling video camera footage from an accident. However, it can be a complicated process of examining whose responsibility it was to keep the person alive.
Generally, if someone dies due a workplace accident, the employer can be sued. This is because employers have been recognized as being responsible for keeping employees safe. If they fail to do that, then it can be argued that they caused a wrongful death.
However, defendants can claim that they aren’t responsible for it if the employee violated a statute or a company policy. For example, if the company policy is to go up a ladder one step at a time, you need to prove the employee didn’t go up two steps at a time. Otherwise, the company can claim they did nothing wrong.
Workplace accidents are common causes of wrongful deaths. Yet, there are many others which can land people in a lawsuit.
Other kinds of arguments can include if a pedestrian was struck after crossing the street too early. Or whether a doctor was sufficiently informed about a person’s condition before treating them.
The Next Step: Proving Suffering
After establishing that somebody caused a wrongful death, the plaintiff needs to prove they suffered because of it. This is usually one of the easiest steps in any trial. It mostly depends on proving that the plaintiff was dependent on some form of support from the deceased.
However, it can also be argued that the person who caused the death simply caused the defendant harm. For instance, if the deceased was the person’s child, they can sue for punitive and reparation damages.
The Last Step: Determining Damages
The final step is the most complex one in any wrongful death lawsuit. When trying to determine how many damages to award someone, they consider many different factors. For instance, courts may decide to tie a person’s damages to the deceased income and potential for increased future income.
The courts may also consider the support provided outside of the financial kind. If a person gave care at home, for example, the court may decide to award more damages, even if they didn’t make a comparable amount of money.
And courts are usually aware that damages will never make up for a person’s death. They’re not designed to replace what has been lost. Instead, damages should account for the support a person gave, and help their loved ones through their grief.
Suing For Someone’s Wrongful Death Is Never Wrong
By going through with a wrongful death lawsuit, you can help ensure the same tragedy never strikes someone else. It teaches the defendants that they have responsibilities to meet and that they can’t be negligent.
After the lawsuit, defendants will be more careful to make sure they don’t repeat the same mistakes. This way, everyone benefits from a wrongful death lawsuit. And most importantly, it guarantees that the deceased didn’t die in vain.
However, going through with a lawsuit can be a hard and excruciating process. It can cause someone to relive some grief and trauma. It can leave plaintiffs feeling vulnerable and alone.
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, contact us. We will make sure you’re never alone throughout the process. Most importantly, we will make sure no one else loses their life for the same reasons.