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How to Prove Fault in a Wrongful Death Case

If you think that a loved one has died as a result of negligence, omission, failure to act, malpractice, or another reason, either intentional or unintentional, you might be tempted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Such suits can be filed against anyone believed to be at fault for a death, including an attacker, a person who causes an accident, an employer, a doctor, and so on and so forth. This type of suit is a civil action, which means it is separate from and is not affected by (nor will the outcome affect) criminal charges or proceedings. That said, the laws regarding wrongful death lawsuits can vary from state to state, and it’s important that you understand the exemptions and limitations (if any) that exist in the state where charges are filed. From there, you can work on figuring out how to prove fault.

The cause of death may have some bearing on how you choose to proceed with your lawsuit, but regardless of how your loved one died, the onus is on you (and your attorneys) to prove that a specific person (or persons) is to blame. And you are going to need a qualified and experienced attorney if you want any chance of succeeding. It is very unlikely that anyone you launch a wrongful death suit against is going to cooperate – they’re going to fight the charges, regardless of whether they’re to blame, because of the monetary settlement that will result if you win. Settlements could include damages that account for actual expenses like medical and funerary costs, anticipated expenses like loss of financial support, and punitive damages for pain and suffering.

So how do you go about proving your case? Generally speaking, it may not be very easy to prove wrongful death. Some cases are fairly cut and dry. If someone attacked your loved one, intentionally causing physical harm, and your loved one died as a result, you have a pretty clear case of wrongful death. But if your loved one was involved in an automobile accident that resulted in death and no fault was assigned, you might have a harder time proving wrongful death. Even though the accident is clearly the cause of death, it may not be the fault of the other driver. And when it comes to negligence, as with a doctor performing a surgical procedure, you will almost certainly need clear evidence that the doctor failed in some way. This can be hard to come by without, say, a credible witness or paper trail indicating negligent behavior.

Your attorney can help you determine if you have a solid case or not, as well as work to find the evidence that will support your claim of wrongful death. You will have to prove that the person you deem to be responsible for the death of your loved one did not fulfill a duty in some way, whether that includes a duty as a citizen to obey the law or a duty as a doctor to provide proper medical care and/or behave in an ethical manner. Once you have proven a breach of duty, you must then prove that this breach was the cause of death. In other words, wrongful death isn’t easy to prove. But with a qualified attorney on the case, you’ll either have a good chance to prove your case and be awarded the damages you’re seeking, or your lawyer will tell you that you just don’t have a good enough case.

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