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Wrongful Death Basics

Wrongful death is a legal term. It means a death that was caused by negligence by another person. Wrongful deaths are not intentional acts. They are considered to be accidental. As such, they don’t fall under the umbrella of criminal law.

The majority of accidental deaths occur due to car and truck crashes, work-related accidents, airplane crashes, pedestrian accidents, faulty products, and medical malpractice.

When a wrongful death occurs, relatives of the deceased may bring a civil lawsuit against the person they deem negligent to receive compensation for the loss of their loved one.

There are four main elements of proof involved in wrongful death cases:

  1. Negligence: Did the person cause the death by reckless or careless behavior?
  2. Breach of duty: Did the person owe a duty of acting safely with regard to the decedent? Did the person fail to carry out that duty?
  3. Causation: Did the person’s negligence actually cause the death?
  4. Damages: Did the death cause financial and emotional damage to the decedent’s loved ones?

If the answer is yes to these questions, the plaintiffs in the lawsuit have a strong case.

In criminal cases, the burden of proof is set high.

Because wrongful deaths are civil cases, the burden of proof is set lower. In legal terms, this means a lawsuit may be won when the preponderance of the evidence is enough. In criminal cases, the judgment must reach the level of guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney

A skilled and experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to grapple effectively with these complex issues. The attorney will help gather evidence, answer all questions of negligence, and construct a solid case for a successful lawsuit.

The team of attorneys at Robert J. DeBry & Associates has handled a combined total of over 250 years of personal injury cases, including wrongful death lawsuits. 

Contact us today to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney.

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