The 4 Key Elements of Wrongful Death Cases

Sep 6, 2022

Wrongful death cases are different from regular personal injury claims in that the damages are beyond medical bills and so on; someone has died. This article aims to help you understand the key elements involved in a wrongful death claim.

We all face difficulties and losses from time to time in our lives. However, the unexpected and sudden death of a loved one can change the course of someone’s life. A loss this huge is hard to cope with and can cause more difficulties. People end up suffering from depression and hopelessness when they’re dealing with loss.

But, if you were to find out that your loved one’s death was caused because of someone else’s reckless behavior, this adds salt to the wound. You feel a rollercoaster of emotions as you deal with the huge void left in your life. You try to take matters into your hands and find the person responsible.

However, the aftermath of a death can be quite overwhelming and you might not know what to do. Therefore, when you know their death could’ve been avoided you try to seek justice for them. In these circumstances, a person can reach out to a New Orleans wrongful death lawyer and file a wrongful death lawsuit against the other party.

In Louisiana, wrongful death lawsuits can arise from a wide range of injuries and vehicular accidents. The legal team at Wright & Gray is here to help you with your personal injury lawsuit and get compensated for all wrongful death damages resulting from negligent action (failing to show reasonable care): burial expenses, punitive damages, future income, and other economic and non-economic damages resulting from the death of the deceased person. But before we see how a New Orleans wrongful death lawyer can help via legal action, let’s see what events lead to a wrongful death case.

What Could Be Classified as a Wrongful Death?

There can be a variety of causes of wrongful death for an injured person. However, some common ones are environmental hazards, vehicular accidents, product side effects, or any medical malpractice such as birth injury of a newborn. If someone dies while they were under the care of a third party, it can be used as a basis for a wrongful death case.

Another reason behind a wrongful death can be any sort of suspicious or criminal activity. If your loved one died as a result of any kind of violence such as a stabbing or shooting, you can reach out to a New Orleans wrongful death lawyer and file a case via the legal process against the responsible party/parties.

All such cases qualify for civil action against the liable party for monetary damages that are associated with the death of the injured party. Failing to fulfill the standard of care (i.e., medical care), for instance, can lead to not only financial losses but also loss of companionship for a spouse, loss of guidance for a child, and much more.

The Difference Between Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Cases

The damages that occur due to wrongful death are different from the ones in a personal injury case. For example, if a person suffered an injury and survived, they can build a personal injury case and seek compensation. But in the case of wrongful death, the victim’s surviving family has to be the one bringing the claim against the negligent party.

They can receive damages for their emotional suffering and pain but the plaintiff in a personal injury case cannot. There is one similarity between the two cases, which is that both of the claims have to prove the same elements. Both cases would need to prove that someone else acted negligently but for a wrongful death case, you have to show that the negligence caused the victim’s death.

Factors like the time of death, condition of service (in case of medical malpractice), breach of duty, and more, carry weight in such cases. In any case, an experienced New Orleans wrongful death lawyer can help you get compensated for all your losses via a legal claim with the insurance company or a civil lawsuit.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In most cases, the immediate family of the loved one can file a wrongful death claim. This means that parents, family members, the spouse, or children of the victim can build a case. Some states allow distant family members to file a lawsuit as well but Louisiana law requires the plaintiff to have a close relationship with the victim. If you’re unsure whether you can file a wrongful death claim, reach out to a New York wrongful death lawyer for guidance.

Things to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case

Any strong wrongful death needs to have solid evidence as its foundation and should be able to prove the negligence and careless behavior of the other party. The plaintiff needs to prove that the defendant had the opportunity to act responsibly but failed to do so.

You need to show that the defendant had the duty to protect and care for the victim and that their negligence led to the victim’s death. It must be proven that the other party’s actions resulted in the death of the victim.

Depending upon your goal of the wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to prove additional elements to be successful. For instance, you might be seeking compensation for any damages or proving medical negligence.

Four Elements of Wrongful Death Cases

To prove a wrongful death claim, your case should have four essential elements. You will need thorough evidence for each element and strong preparation to deal with the defenses thrown at you. You should have careful consideration of the following elements:

Negligence

Once you know your loved one’s death counts as wrongful death, you need evidence to prove that the other party behaved recklessly, leading to the death of the victim. You don’t need the defendant to be entirely blamed to prove negligence because any sort of carelessness can put the responsibility on them.

Negligence can be anything such as a medical professional or someone with a duty to the victim that acted negligently. It could also be a driver who owed a duty of care to the passengers or anyone surrounding the vehicle. You must prove that the other party’s careless nature was the cause of the death of your loved one.

Breach of Duty of Care

Once you have proven that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care. Next, you will need to show how they violated this by behaving recklessly. The defendant would’ve breached their duty if they didn’t act carefully and their actions caused the victim to lose their life.

For example, a doctor providing a wrong dose of medicine or a driver using their phone while driving, all these circumstances show that there was a violation of their duties.

Causation

After you have established that the plaintiff behave negligently and failed to perform their duty, you need to prove the cause of the death of your loved one. You need strong evidence to show that the other party’s actions directly resulted in the victim’s death.

However, sometimes careless behavior doesn’t lead to anyone’s death so you need evidence and strong legal arguments to prove the cause of death. The other party’s negligence should be the determining factor in the victim’s death.

Damages

The final element of a wrongful death case is any damages that were left behind due to your loved one’s death. It can include anything from medical costs, loss of income, funeral expenses, or any future losses. You can seek compensation for the emotional suffering, grief, and pain and any loss of services you experienced due to the death. You need to prove these damages to receive the amount of settlement you’d like.

How to Prove a Wrongful Death

If you need to prove wrongful death, you should get in touch with an experienced New Orleans wrongful death lawyer. Wright & Gray has a team of experts ready to help out anyone in need. If we’re able to take your case, we can help collect the necessary evidence for every single element of the wrongful death lawsuit.

The plaintiff must have a legal foundation and evidence to back up each claim they make. You can use a variety of things for evidence such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Witness testimonies
  • Death reconstruction
  • Highlighting the laws
  • Any employment records
  • Expert witness

Every case is different and depends upon the circumstances of the victim’s death. However, every lawsuit needs definitive proof if you wish to win your case. Although wrongful death cases involve witnesses and strong evidence, the lawsuit still counts as a civil case and not a criminal one. A criminal case is a separate legal matter.

End Result of Wrongful Death Cases

After you have won a wrongful death case, the family members of the victim receive any damages that resulted due to the death of the loved one. This can include damages such as loss of income, medical expenses, and funeral costs.

In most wrongful death cases, the total settlement amount depends upon a wide range of factors and damages included in the claim. The plaintiff should only discuss the settlement and damages once they have proven the wrongful death of their loved one. A talented New Orleans wrongful death lawyer can discuss the legal options available to you.

You can also seek compensation for non-quantifiable damages such as pain and suffering and sorrow due to the death. Once both parties have settled on an amount, it can be paid by the defendant’s insurance company to the plaintiff or their lawyer.

Work with a Skilled and Compassionate New Orleans Wrongful Death Lawyer

If you or anyone close to you has experienced the wrongful death of a loved one, you need to understand the circumstances and the nature of the death. At Wright & Gray, we have a team of skilled lawyers who understand the anguish and painful aftermath of a loved one’s death. We don’t want you to do any more labor by dealing with insurance companies and the defendant’s legal team.

If we are able to take your case, a New Orleans wrongful death lawyer from our personal injury legal team will work hard to build you a strong case against the other party, so you can be fairly compensated for everything you have faced. We understand that when someone loses a loved one due to the negligence of another party, it can turn their life upside down. We can help you deal with the incident and prove your wrongful death claim so the responsible party can pay for their actions. Let us help you get your life back on track!

If you or someone you know has been injured, protect your future and your rights

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