The 4 Elements of Justice: What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death in the legal sense is used to describe an individual’s death resulting from negligence or recklessness of another person. In most cases, the immediate family members of the victim file a wrongful death lawsuit to get compensation for their financial and emotional damages. Often, this includes family members like the parents, children, and spouses of the deceased persons. To succeed in a wrongful death claim, the following elements must be proved:

Duty of Care

The Duty of Care is the first element involved in a wrongful death claim. Every individual owes a duty of care to the other, and if such a duty has been breached, the victim or the loved ones of the victims have a right to file a lawsuit against the wrongdoer. Therefore, if an individual owes you a duty of care, you would expect such a person to take all the necessary precautions to ensure they don’t cause you any harm. For instance, all drivers owe a duty of care to passengers and other road users, and this means taking all the necessary steps not to endanger others on the road. In that regard, in a wrongful death claim, the loved ones need to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased victim.

Breach of Duty

To succeed in a wrongful death claim, it must be shown the duty of care owed to the deceased victim was breached. For example, a doctor maintains a duty to ensure they administer the right medication or carry out the right surgery on the patient. When a wrong surgery is conducted to a patient leading to their death, then the duty of care has been breached. In the case of a wrongful death, the plaintiffs need to prove that the defendant had a duty of care which they breached leading to the death of their loved one.

Causation and Fault

It’s never sufficient to prove that a duty of care was breached. When it comes to a wrongful death claim, you must show that the breach of this duty resulted in injuries which led to the death of the deceased victim. In other words, what the defendant did or failed to do was the direct cause of the events leading to the wrongful death of the deceased.

Damages

After the first three elements have been established, there is a need to demonstrate that you, as well as any other person close to the deceased, have suffered damages as a result of the death of the victim. Damages could be in the form of loss of income which the deceased contributed towards sustenance of the loved ones, medical and funeral expenses, loss of love, loss of support, and loss of companionship.

Final Word

Proving the above elements in a wrongful death claim is not always easy even when you believe you are facing a straightforward case. A wrongful death attorney will help you to prove these elements before the court so you can get the compensation you deserve. To get maximum compensation, therefore, it’s imperative to hire a lawyer with adequate experience in wrongful death claims.

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