When a person is killed because of another’s negligence or intentions, a wrongful death lawsuit may be claimed. The survivor’s family members can seek compensation for the survivors’ loss, such as lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship, and funeral expenses. It is normally the parents, spouses, or children of the deceased victim who seek compensation, and they can sometimes receive up to millions of dollars. For example, if a mother was the main provider for a household income and was killed in a driving accident, her family may be eligible to sue the reckless driver and receive a large sum of money on return.
One of the most common cases of a wrongful death lawsuit was a double-murder trial against O.J. Simpson. He was believed to have killed his ex-wife and her friend. Even though the jury ruled him not guilty, the families of both victims filed a wrongful death claim against Simpson in civil court. At trial, a jury found that Simpson was responsible for deaths and awarded the families $33.5 million. This proves that even though there was not enough proof to convict him of homicide, there was enough evidence to prove liability for wrongful death – and this can still be applied to cases today.
Four Key Elements
The law defines four key elements that make up a wrongful death claim: negligence, breach of duty, causation, and damages. You must be able to provide convincing evidence and an expert witness testimony presented by a skilled attorney in order to have a successful lawsuit.
If the victim’s surviving family members or legal representatives can prove that the death of their loved one was caused partially or completely by the defendant’s recklessness, carelessness, or negligence, they can hold the defendant liable in a wrongful death claim.
- Breach of Duty
If you can prove that the defendant breached a duty he owed to the victim, you can have a successful case. For example, if someone was killed in an auto accident because of someone else’s reckless driving, the reckless driver had a duty to be driving safely and obeying traffic laws. It can easily be proven that he breached his duty.
Even doctors and medical practices have duties they are required to stand by. Even medical malpractice is an issue that is seen in court regarding wrongful death lawsuits. The plaintiff must establish the defendant’s duty and describe how it was breached by their actions.
On top of proving how the defendant broke their responsibility, they must describe how it caused the death of their loved one.
The victim’s death must have generated measurable damages, like hospitalization, medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of income, potential earnings, loss of protection, guidance, and inheritance along with pain and suffering the victim might have experienced before death.
What are the most common causes?
The following are common causes that lead to wrongful death lawsuits:
- Automobile, commercial truck, or motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Birth injuries
- Product defects
- Occupational exposure and hazards
- Premises accidents
- Criminal actions including blatant violence, shootings, and stabbings
- Supervised activities including day care, adult care, and field trips
- Nursing home and assisted living abuse and neglect
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, the first thing you must do is contact a qualified attorney, like Ryan Orsatti. The first thing your attorney will do is try to settle the case with defendant my demanding compensation for damages. If the defendant does not want to settle, you must file a document called complaint with the court to begin a wrongful death lawsuit.
The complaint addresses the reasons why the plaintiff is suing the defendant, the law that supports the claims, and what the plaintiff is demanding by way of damages (compensation). The defendant will have a short time frame to send a response, usually between 20 to 30 days. The answer typically outlines the defendant’s defenses to the claims and seeks the dismissal of the plaintiff’s case.
Contact Ryan Orsatti Law in San Antonio, Texas
If you lost a loved one because of negligence, contact Ryan Orsatti Law for a free case evaluation. Ryan Orsatti represents individuals in Texas who have been victims of all types of accidents, including motor vehicle accidents, 18-wheeler accidents, oil field accidents, and premises liability accidents. To learn more about how we can help with your wrongful death claim, click here.
You could be eligible for more compensation than you think, so don’t settle. You need a strong advocate on your side to protect your rights and to make sure you are getting the best possible outcome in your case. You won’t pay a dime unless we win! Call us at (210) 525-1200 today.