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Proving Fault in a Wrongful Death Case: What You Need to Know

Wrongful death claims occur when one person dies because of another. But, to have a valid wrongful death claim, you must prove that the person who caused the death was acting negligently.

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death statutes were created to compensate close family members and their estate’s heirs for the death of a family member or loved one. The wrongful death lawsuit could collect damages for loss of financial support, medical costs, pain and suffering, funeral expenses and other damages that apply directly to the cause of the person’s death.

Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

Damages are awarded differently in wrongful death cases. But, to get any form of compensation, you must prove that the defendant caused the death due to negligence.

Duty

In order for someone to be labeled as “negligent” they must have owed a specific duty of care to the deceased individual. The exact definition for “duty of care” will depend on the circumstances of the case, but often includes being safe or refraining from doing something that will harm another person.

For example: in a car accident death, the other driver was driving irresponsibly and caused an accident. Because the driver had a duty of care to drive safely and follow the rules of the road, they were negligent and therefore, liable for the death they caused.

Proving the Breach of Duty

Once you have defined the duty that the individual was supposed to uphold, you must prove that they breached their duty. This means gathering evidence to prove the person was negligent. Using the car accident example, you could prove that the driver was distracted and talking on the phone or they were driving while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Proving Cause

Next, you must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty caused the death or harm to the deceased. Referring back once again to the car accident case, you would prove that the defendant’s car is the one that struck and killed the deceased or their vehicle.

Proving Wrongful Death Isn’t Easy – You Need an Attorney

To prove a wrongful death case, you need the assistance of a skilled West Palm Beach wrongful death attorney. The team at Fetterman & Associates, PA can help you with your case. We know losing a loved one is hard, but we will make sure that justice is upheld and that your loved one’s loss does not leave you financially unstable.

Call now for a free consultation.

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Categories: Personal Injury
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