Austin Personal Injury Blog

Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim: What You Need to Know

Posted By The Stewart Law Firm, PLLC || 12-Jan-2018

Wrongful death claims cover all sorts of fatal accidents, such as car accidents and medical malpractice. Wrongful death claims can also be filed over product liability issues for defective products or medical devices that cause or contribute to the death of a person.

People, companies, and governmental agencies can all be found at fault for a wrongful death if their actions or internal practices are deemed negligent or intentionally reckless. Wrongful death claims can be filed by a family member or representative of the deceased. Claimants can be immediate family members, life partners, financial dependents, or putative spouses.

Because family members will often argue about who should be the one to file a lawsuit, it is important to note that courts will usually allow just one wrongful death claim to be filed on behalf of the deceased party. If two claims are filed, courts will usually consolidate the claims into a single lawsuit.

If you plan to file a wrongful death claim, you will need to prove the following elements to receive compensation for the death of your loved one.

Proof of Negligence

When you file your wrongful death claim, you will need to prove the death of your loved one was caused because of the reckless, careless, or negligent actions of the person or entity you are suing. If the defendant failed to use reasonable care in the circumstances that caused your loved ones death, you can argue that they have acted negligently and contributed to the death in question. This will require you to establish a direct link between the defending party’s negligence and your loved one's death.

Proof of Breach of Duty

A wrongful death case requires you to prove that the defendant owed a duty or legal obligation to your loved one. Proving a breach of duty occurred requires you to establish the nature of the duty in question and how it was breached through the defendant’s negligent actions.

Proof of Damages

To have a claim for damages, the death of your loved one must have resulted in quantifiable damages like: hospitalization, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of income, loss of protection, and pain and suffering.

Each of these elements have to be present in order for your wrongful death claim to be successful. If you think you have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, you should immediately consult with an experienced attorney.

Contact our Austin team of wrongful death attorneys to get started on your free consultation today.

Blog Home