What Exactly Does it Take to Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?


In a recent study, John Hopkins confirmed that the annual deaths resulting from medical mistakes in the U.S. are 250,000, while other studies claimed that the deaths are 440,000. The discrepancies are expected as cases of system failures or human errors hardly feature in a death certificate. Medical malpractice is one of the leading causes of wrongful deaths. 

Many other incidents cause wrongful deaths. When your loved one dies because of negligence from another party, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is the responsibility of the family. If you have a valid wrongful death claim, you need to prove negligence. 

Keep reading to know more about wrongful death and ways you can prove the claim. 

What Is a Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is the description of an individual’s death caused by negligence or recklessness of another entity or person. 

The wrongful death and survivor laws came into existence in the nineteenth century. Before then, the family of the deceased couldn’t sue the party that had caused the negligent act as the lawsuit could only come from the injured person. 

Since the plaintiff was dead, the claim wasn’t tenable. The statutes on wrongful death and survivor aimed at compensating families after losing loved ones following negligence. Through the statute, family members get compensation for the lost financial support, the deceased’s suffering during the death, and expenses such as medical and funeral costs. 

What are the Elements of Wrongful Death Claim?

The law defines four key elements that characterize wrongful death. 

Family members who submit a wrongful death claim have to prove all the elements for them to win a case. These fundamental elements are a duty of care, breach of duty, damages, and causation.

  1. Duty of Care

The duty of care or due diligence states that a particular party is responsible for exercising judgment to ensure that the other party is safe. This provision applies in a variety of cases. In the workplace, roads, health centers, and many different settings, people have a responsibility to ensure that others are safe.

When claiming wrongful death, you need adequate proof that your loved one’s death resulted, either wholly or partly, to the action or failure of action of another party. 

Some cases, such as medical mistakes involving misdiagnosis, wrong medication, and other negligent practices, can be possible to prove. Yet in most cases, it is considerably challenging to verify your claim, that’s why you need to work with an attorney when pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit. 

  1. Breach of Duty

In a wrongful death lawsuit, you have to prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty. 

In a medical malpractice scenario, it is possible to prove that a doctor didn’t withhold the medical duty of maintaining the health of the patient. On the road, a motorist has a responsibility to drive safely, and if an accident occurred due to recklessness, proving the breach of duty is possible.  

In establishing the breach of duty, there are few considerations taken into account. They include the statutory laws, regulations in a state, standard of care, and the relationship between the defendant and the plaintiff. 

Besides proving the breach of duty, you need to show how the death resulted from the breach. 

  1. Damages 

You ought to have quantifiable damages to qualify for compensation in case of wrongful death lawsuit. 

Measurable damages include medical expenses, hospitalization, income loss, funeral costs, loss of protection, and the extent of the suffering of the victim before death. Damages such as the emotional trauma of the survivors might be hard to quantify and prove.

Convincing the jury without adequate proof can be daunting. You need to hire a competent wrongful death attorney to help in filing the case. Visit this link to connect with experienced attorneys who will help you to file a wrongful death claim. 

With an experienced attorney, the chances of getting a fair settlement are high. It is advisable to work with an attorney who has a commendable reputation, experience, trustworthiness, and who will be dedicated to your case.

  1. Causation 

The CDC has reported that about 29 people in the U.S. die each day in car accidents involving drunk driving. 

Unsafe driving is one of the many cases of negligence that leads to wrongful deaths. A lawsuit plaintiff has to prove how the negligence or recklessness of the defendant led to the death of a loved one.

It would help to know the sequence of activities leading to the death. Without such information, winning such a case is hard. In an example of a car accident, eyewitnesses and police reports can provide useful evidence.

You need to preserve any evidence related to the case. Documents, audios, or video recordings can provide adequate testimony. If you have witnesses to prove how the death resulted from a breach of duty, you’ll be in a better position to win the case. 

Gathering the Evidence to Proof Wrongful Death

The quality of evidence can guarantee you rightful compensation after filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, getting the evidence is not easy. The victim isn’t available to testify, and getting an essential witness can be difficult. As a result, most people use circumstantial evidence to show the defendant’s negligence or wrongful act.  

The evidence can be inclusive of available witness testimony, medical records, police reports, video footage, or pictures of the incident. The wrongful death lawsuit is more of a civil action, which lowers the burden of proof. 

If you decide to pursue this action, you have to develop a practical strategy, investigate the claim, consult with experts, meet eyewitnesses, and research the law on wrongful death claims. 

The legal process can be demanding and overly emotional for your family. Walking with an attorney through this journey increases your chances of success besides allowing you a peaceful grieving period.

Proving a Wrongful Death Claim Remains a Challenge for Most Families 

The death of a loved one is devastating. It is more painful to know that your family member died following negligence from another person. 

Filing a wrongful death claim can put you in a fierce legal battle.  

Yet, the process is necessary, especially if the death led to significant damages. Working with a lawyer is one of the best decisions if you decide to pursue the wrongful death lawsuit. 

Keep exploring our site for law-related topics and more.

About Author

LaDonna Dennis

LaDonna Dennis is the founder and creator of Mom Blog Society. She wears many hats. She is a Homemaker*Blogger*Crafter*Reader*Pinner*Friend*Animal Lover* Former writer of Frost Illustrated and, Cancer...SURVIVOR! LaDonna is happily married to the love of her life, the mother of 3 grown children and "Grams" to 3 grandchildren. She adores animals and has four furbabies: Makia ( a German Shepherd, whose mission in life is to be her attached to her hip) and Hachie, (an OCD Alaskan Malamute, and Akia (An Alaskan Malamute) who is just sweet as can be. And Sassy, a four-month-old German Shepherd who has quickly stolen her heart and become the most precious fur baby of all times. Aside from the humans in her life, LaDonna's fur babies are her world.

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