Proving negligence is the key to winning a wrongful death case
When a person dies tragically and unexpectedly, the shock and sorrow of that death can overwhelm a family. Aside from the emotional toll, a family can also be left in a precarious situation financially and legally as well. Fortunately, many of these concerns can be resolved through compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit.
There is a universal burden of proof that exists for all cases involving wrongful deaths, not only in Palm Springs but throughout the United States. That burden of proof centers around the concept of proving that negligence was the cause of a person’s death due to the actions of another.
Negligence has four elements that must be proven to win a wrongful death claim:
- Duty of care – A wrongful death lawyer representing plaintiffs must show that the party who caused the wrongful death had a duty to protect the deceased, and they acted in such a way that it was foreseeable that death might take place. For example, if a truck driver gets behind the wheel of a big rig after having several drinks, it can be assumed that they breached their duty of care that is reasonably expected of all truck drivers, that they not to drink and drive.
- Breach of Duty – From their actions, did the defendant breach the recognized duty of care? If drinking and driving is against the law and the defendant did it anyway, they are considered to have breached their duty to do the right thing when getting behind the wheel.
- Cause of the wrongful death – Did the defendant’s actions or failure to act cause the wrongful death? In other words, did getting behind the wheel after several drinks, and then getting into the accident, cause the wrongful death to occur.
Did damages result from the defendant’s action – Assuming the answer is yes, which it should be in a wrongful death claim, the question then becomes, how much financial damage took place to compensate the person’s surviving relatives? The amount can vary depending on the deceased person’s age, occupation and financial contributions as well as other determining factors.
Dale Gribow, Attorney at Law proudly serves Palm Springs and surrounding California communities.