When you suddenly lose someone you love because of a situation out of their control, it's reasonable to look into filing a lawsuit regarding their wrongful death. However, you should keep in mind that there are 3 factors that will make a case like this a success. If you are able to prove these factors to a judge or a jury, you may have luck with winning in court.
Duty of Care
A key element in having success in court is being able to prove that the person responsible for the wrongful death had the duty to care for your loved one. What this means is if the defendant had not acted in a certain way, a wrongful death would not have happened.
For example, if a pedestrian is killed while crossing a street at a crosswalk, people driving in their car have the responsibility to not hit pedestrians that are crossing. Their decision to continue driving or slow down can directly lead to the pedestrian's death. When the pedestrian is legally crossing the street, duty of care is easy to establish. It can be tricky if it was a situation where the pedestrian was jaywalking or crossing the road in a place where pedestrians should not be, such as a freeway.
Breach of Duty
You must also show that the defendant was responsible for breaching that duty of care. Unfortunately, there can be other factors at play that cause someone to breach their duty, which can invalidate your wrongful death lawsuit.
Using the cross walk example again, it may seem clear that a driver was responsible for hitting a pedestrian, but there are many factors that could have forced a driver to do so. This includes the car's brakes not working, making the defendant unable to stop in time. The defendant could have lost control of the car because they were rear-ended.
Your attorney will help prove that the defendant was responsible for their actions.
Even if the previous two factors have been proven, the defendant's actions must have been directly responsible for causing the death.
In the cross walk example, proving a wrongful death would only be possible if their fatal injuries were directly related to the car accident. If the victim had other pre-existing illnesses that contributed to their death, it may not be possible to prove a wrongful death occurred.
Not sure if your case meets these criteria? Meet with a lawyer like one from Burgess & Perigard for a consultation.Share