When a person dies or is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another, including murder, the surviving members of the victim's family may sue for wrongful death.
There are four key elements involved in wrongful death as defined by law. A plaintiff in a wrongful death actions must prove each of the following elements to prevail in their civil case:
Negligence – The surviving members or their legal representatives must prove the death of their loved one was caused in part or in whole by the recklessness, carelessness, or negligent actions of the defending party.
Breach of Duty – It must be established that the defendant in a wrongful death lawsuit breached a duty owed to the deceased victim. This could include a breach of a driver's duty to safely operate his or her vehicle on a public highway, or breach of a manufacturer's duty to warn against dangers inherent in using their product.
Causation – The plaintiff also has the burden to prove how the defendant’s negligence caused their loved one’s death.
Damages – The death of the victim must have generated quantifiable damages such as hospitalization, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of income and potential earnings, loss of protection, guidance and inheritance along with pain and suffering of the victim prior to death.
Proving these points in court through a wrongful death lawsuit requires an attorney experienced and specialized in wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases.
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