When someone close to you has died, and you believe that their death could have been prevented, it is natural to wonder if someone should be held responsible. What it a wrongful death, and can it be proven? There are four specific criteria, four signs, used to determine whether a death can legally be considered wrongful and the basis for a lawsuit.
This sign of wrongful death is often the easiest to prove. A drunk driver who crosses the center line and hits another vehicle is obviously negligent. In other circumstances, negligence is more difficult to demonstrate. For example, if a doctor missed signs of disease, was he or she negligent? If an employer puts someone to work on a machine that malfunctions and causes death, was the employer negligent? Each case is unique and must be weighed on its specific facts.
A Breach of Duty Occurred
Did the defendant owe a duty to the victim? For example, owners of dangerous dogs have a duty to the public to keep their animals under control. If they don’t, that is considered a breach of duty. When considering a wrongful death lawsuit against an employer, medical professional or pharmaceutical company, this sign is often hard to see. An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to spot it or have experts to rely on who can make that determination.
The Defendant’s Action Must Cause Death
The next sign of wrongful death is that the negligent individual’s actions directly or indirectly caused the victim’s death to occur. A clear link between what they did, (the cause) and the person’s death (the effect) must be shown.
The Victim’s Death Produced Quantifiable Damage
Wrongful death lawsuits are brought by loved ones suffer as a result of the person’s death. The damage must be quantifiable, and it can be financial such as funeral expenses or the loss of real and potential income. The damage can also be relational and emotional such as the loss of protection or companionship.
These criteria vary slightly across the country. For example, a wrongful death claim in Denver, will be proven a bit differently than one in Chicago or Detroit, it makes sense to consult a local attorney who can review the facts of your case.
What’s the Next Step in a Wrongful Death Event?
If you believe that the death of a relative meets these criteria, contact a wrongful death attorney. If you are struggling financially because of this breach of duty you should contact a provider of pre settlement lawsuit funding. These different companies can provide you with a source of liquidity while you await your verdict or settlement. He or she will know the signs of wrongful death that are necessary where you live and will give you clear advice on whether to pursue the matter or not.