When a loved one dies due to someone else’s negligence, you may have the ability to file a wrongful death suit. However, your ability to recover compensation in that case hinges on your ability to prove that the target of your suit was actually negligent.
To prove fault on the part of the defendant, you must follow these steps:
- Proof of duty. If a person is going to be considered negligent, then there must have been some sort of duty of care on the part of the defendant to keep the deceased person safe. In a case where a driver kills a passenger in a car accident where he was driving recklessly, the family of the passenger might argue that the driver owed the passenger a duty of care to drive safely.
- Proving a breach of that duty. If there is reasonable belief that a duty of care exists, the next step is to prove that the defendant somehow violated that duty. Using the same example of a car accident, the family’s legal team might seek to prove that the driver was distracted or speeding at the time of the accident.
- Proving causation. The next step is to prove that the breach of duty is actually what caused the person’s death. It can be difficult to prove causation depending on the facts available in a case, but it is a necessary step to successfully filing a suit.
- Proving the existence of damages. You must be able to prove that there were damages incurred in the case. This is more self-explanatory in wrongful death cases, as the damages include the death of the victim in question. There can also be other damages at stake, including the loss and suffering of the victim’s loved ones.
If you are able to successfully prove these elements after the death of a loved one, you may be able to seek compensation from those responsible through a wrongful death claim. Consult the compassionate San Diego attorneys at Thorsnes Bartolotta McGuire to learn more about your legal options.