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What Must Be Proven In Wrongful Death Cases

Posted by Gregory M. Rada | November 8, 2022 | Firm News

auto accident attorney Indianapolis, INIf someone you love has died due to the actions of another, then you may have the strong desire to hold the offending party accountable for your loss in the court of law. Surviving family members are permitted to seek financial recovery for the losses they endured because of the wrongful death. But obtaining justice is not as simple as claiming the offender did something wrong, as certain elements of your case will need to be proven first. 

There are procedures that have to be followed and legal burdens of evidence presented before the offending party can be held liable. To prove a death was wrongful, there are facts that have to be shown. Here we have discussed what must be proven in the wrongful death case to have a successful verdict. 

Proof of Negligence

As an Indianapolis, IN wrongful death lawyer from Ward & Ward Law Firm explains, If the wrongful death was from the negligence of another, as many cases of wrongful death are, then the plaintiff must satisfy the legal elements of negligence. These elements include:

The duty of care will vary based on the type of incident that occurred. For instance, a driver who was drunk and crashed into another had the duty of care to operate their vehicle safely so no one else got hurt. That driver may be sued by the surviving family members of the deceased because the driver breached their duty of care to others and a fatality resulted.

Proof of Intentional Harm
Some cases of wrongful death do not stem from negligence, but instead intentional misconduct or violence. Elements needed to prove that an intentional act was committed include:

Violent deaths may be processed at the criminal and civil level. The offender in the crime may be prosecuted for homicide, manslaughter, or other, which is handled separately from a civil wrongful death case. Your lawyer will know how to use the coinciding criminal case to increase your family’s chances of financial recovery. 

Proof of Resulting Damages

If you can establish the connection between your loved one’s death and the negligence or intentional act of another, the next step is to prove that you have accrued damages from the loss. Examples of damages often sought by family members through a wrongful death lawsuit include: