In 2016, there were over 160,000 deaths that resulted from unintentional injuries. Considering the statistic, many of these were caused by someone else through negligence. This lead to more and more people filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
When it comes to dealing with wrongful death cases, the situation can become even more challenging if the defending party tries to deflect blame. But, it is possible to prove fault if you take the right steps.
Not sure where to start? Don’t worry, we got you covered.
Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about coming out on top during a wrongful death lawsuit.
Before We Begin
There’s crucial information to understand before we go any further, so take a moment to read these sections.
What Exactly Is “Wrongful Death?”
It’s important to understand what “wrongful death” actually is. When someone dies due to another party’s negligence, this is considered a wrongful death. The family members of the deceased are able to then sue those liable on the deceased’s behalf.
Put simply, a wrongful death lawsuit exists in order to hold those responsible accountable for their actions. Since the deceased cannot pursue compensation themselves, the family may.
What Compensation Can I Expect to Pursue?
As you can expect, this is dependent on your relationship with the deceased. If they were your primary form of financial support, you can sue the other party to obtain what you’ve missed out on.
In general, though, you’ll be able to sue for pain and suffering as well as funeral expenses. The average funeral costs are often over $10,000 total in expenses.
To get the compensation you deserve, you’re going to have to prove that the other party was either negligent toward the deceased or that their act was wrongful.
Even if the deceased was at fault, the circumstances they were in may be due to someone’s negligence. For example, the victim was operating equipment or machinery without the proper training or license. This is something a company should have prevented because they did not train the victim before letting him run the equipment.
The term “wrongful” here can be ambiguous, so let’s take a look at an example:
Let’s assume that the victim was a former employee of a hardware store. Store policy states that at least two employees must be present at the shop at all times. However, the victim’s manager demands one evening that they stay as long as it takes until they’re finished stocking shelves and moving equipment to prepare for the next morning.
Over the next few hours, the victim is by themselves in the store. Due to unknown factors, the victim falls while moving cargo and is trapped underneath the weight. With no one else around, the victim dies from their injuries.
The family of the victim can now file a wrongful death claim against the manager. Due to the company policy, it was negligent to demand that the victim work alone at the store.
The defendant will then be held responsible for the funeral costs and pain & suffering of the plaintiff. If the victim was the plaintiff’s caregiver or provider, the defendant may also be held liable for these costs.
Luckily, negligence is far more straightforward when it comes to filing a lawful death suit.
Negligence can include common mistakes, such as the iconic slippery floor without a “wet floor” sign present. However, negligence can also be complicated.
Let’s say that the victim was struck and killed by the driver of a car while crossing the street. In order for the family of the victim to prove fault, they need to prove that the driver was acting negligently while driving.
It is occasionally difficult to prove negligence in a situation like this as it’s difficult to have evidence unless you were present at the scene.
Standard of Proof
In criminal cases, all defendants are innocent until proven guilty. It’s up to the prosecution to provide proof that, beyond a reasonable doubt, the defendant is guilty of their accused crime.
Fortunately for those seeking damages in wrongful death cases, they don’t need to have undeniable proof that the defendant should be responsible for providing compensation.
Let’s take a look back at the negligence example.
While the plaintiff may have not been present at the scene, they can still provide compelling evidence that the driver was acting negligently.
For example, the driver has had multiple speeding tickets and citations in the past. The plaintiff can argue that they’re prone to being unaware of their surroundings while driving (even if they weren’t speeding at the time of the incident).
This means that families with a reputable legal professional on their side will often be able to prove that the defendant is at fault for the deceased’s death. Hiring the right attorney is a crucial decision when it comes to optimizing your chances of winning the suit.
Handling a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Can Seem Difficult…
But it doesn’t have to be.
With the above information about winning a wrongful death lawsuit in mind, you are well on your way to getting the compensation you deserve for your loved one.
Want to learn more about how to handle common legal issues? Call our office today for a free consultation at (800) 674-7854 to discus your wrongful death lawsuit.