How hard it is to prove wrongful death depends on the case. Some wrongful death cases are clear-cut. Other wrongful death cases require thorough investigation, statements from witnesses, evaluations by experts, and other types of supporting evidence. To recover compensation in a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, the decedent’s family or representative must prove that another party’s negligence caused or contributed to their loved one’s passing.
There are four critical elements in a wrongful death case that you must prove to secure financial recovery. You should work with an experienced New York wrongful death lawyer to guide you through the process and assist you in obtaining the best possible result.
The Four Elements of Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case
In a wrongful death case, you must prove that the at-fault party was either partly or wholly responsible for your loved one’s passing, either by negligence, carelessness, or recklessness.
With evidence, you will need to establish:
Duty of Care
To prove negligence, you must prove that the at-fault party owed your loved one a “duty of care.” The nature of this obligation varies depending on your circumstances. In general, one’s duty of care refers to their obligation to keep others safe.
For example, property owners have a duty of care to provide reasonably safe premises to those residing at or visiting the premises. They are obligated to take reasonable actions to maintain the property in a reasonably safe condition, free of dangerous or hazardous conditions. Drivers have a duty of care to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicle in a reasonably safe manner while on a roadway.
When you work with a lawyer, they will determine whether the at-fault party owed your loved one a duty of care. They will consider all the relevant factors necessary in order to come to that conclusion.
Breach of Duty of Care
Once you establish a duty of care, you must show how the other party breached that obligation. For instance, if a property owner is aware of a dangerous condition on their property but fails to take steps to repair the condition or make the area safe and your loved one suffered an accident that resulted in their death as a result, the property owner can be found negligent.
In another example, if a driver is found to have been texting while driving at the time of an accident, they have effectively violated their duty of care. You will be able to argue that because the other party acted irresponsibly, they caused your loved one’s death.
You must also establish that the other party’s actions or inaction caused your loved one’s passing. For instance, if your loved one died in a car accident, you must prove that the death was the result of the accident. To illustrate this more clearly, if a person trips and falls on a broken sidewalk and dies as a result, it can be claimed that the death was caused by a failure to repair the sidewalk but if that person had a heart attack immediately prior to the fall, it can be argued that the resulting death was caused by the heart attack and not the broken sidewalk.
Even if the other party broke the law, that does not automatically make them responsible for your damages. You will need to utilize evidence to claim compensation for your losses.
Economic and Non-Economic Damages
Finally, you must prove that you incurred damages as a result of your loved one’s passing. You can do this by presenting evidence demonstrating the loss of economic support that you and your family suffered due to the death of your loved one. You are also entitled to compensation for the expenses associated with your loved one’s funeral service and their final medical bills.
Additionally, you may be entitled to recover for non-economic damages that you and your family are suffering due to the loss of your loved one, such as the loss of parental guidance and nurture and loss of spousal services. You can also recover damages suffered by your loved one for his or her pain and suffering caused from the time of the accident until the death and for any pre-impact terror that may have been experienced.
If you are able to prove the four elements of negligence, you can secure a financial recovery for your loved one’s passing and associated damages.
For a free legal consultation, call (212) 732-2929
Consider Hiring a Lawyer To Prove Wrongful Death
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that unintentional injuries are the third-leading cause of death in the U.S. Many of these injuries, as confirmed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), are caused by traffic accidents. However, fatal injuries may also be caused by construction accidents, premises liability incidents, and medical malpractice.
Whatever the cause, it can be hard to prove a wrongful death case, which is why it is important to seek the help of an experienced team of personal injury lawyers. To demonstrate the four elements of negligence, you must have compelling evidence, some of which may require testimony from expert witnesses. In the wake of losing a close loved one, handling a wrongful death case can be difficult and emotionally draining.
Get in Touch with Dansker & Aspromonte Associates Today
A lawyer can assist you by gathering all of the necessary evidence to support your claim. They can also file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. Your attorney will also support you through the l process and pursue damages on your behalf so you and your family can focus on healing.
If you reside in the New York City metropolitan area and would like to learn more about filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, call Dansker & Aspromonte Associates. Our team is prepared to help you. Call (212) 732-2929 to obtain a free consultation.