Your loved one died in an accident. Not only are you devastated by this tragic ordeal, but you now have to pay exorbitant medical bills and funeral expenses. You know you can file a civil suit, but how do you prove wrongful death?
If you’re looking for proof, contact a wrongful death attorney at Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, and Fronrath to initiate your lawsuit and get you and your family the compensation you need.
At this time, you should be focusing on the grieving process and healing from this traumatic event. It’s not up to you to battle it out with insurance companies or to go to court.
Instead, you can let your lawyer handle all the work for you. Take care of yourself and your family at this critical moment.
What is wrongful death?
The legal definition of wrongful death is what happens when a person is killed because of another party or entity’s misconduct or negligence. There are many situations where you could sue a defendant for wrongful death.
For instance, if a driver got behind the wheel when they were drunk and struck and killed your loved one with their car, that would count as a wrongful death.
If a construction company did not properly secure scaffolding onto a building and it fell and hit your loved one, that could also be classified as wrongful death.
If a restaurant unintentionally put toxic cleaning chemicals in their food and your loved one consumed it and passed away, that would be a wrongful death, too.
Also, if your loved one passed away due to medical malpractice, you could potentially sue for wrongful death. The only caveat is that it’s very difficult to sue for medical malpractice. With the right lawyer and proof on your side, you could successfully sue a doctor, hospital, or another type of medical professional and retrieve your much-needed compensation.
How do you prove wrongful death?
When somebody is accused of committing a crime, the prosecutor has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant committed the crime. The burden of proof is high.
But with a civil case like a wrongful death claim, the burden of proof is a preponderance of evidence. That means that the plaintiff convinces the fact finder that there is a more than 50% chance that their claim is true.
To prove your case, you’ll need evidence that shows that the defendant acted negligently, and due to that negligence, your loved one passed away.
The proof you could provide includes:
- Medical records
- Police records
- Witness statements
- Photographs of injuries and the scene where the injuries occurred
- Video footage
While it’s true that the more evidence you have the better, you don’t need to provide all of these types of evidence. If you’re concerned you don’t have much proof, bear in mind that your personal injury lawyer can help you gather more.
For instance, they could always see if there was video surveillance footage from the incident and retrieve it for you. They will do whatever they can to strengthen your case and ensure the best outcome possible.
Additionally, they won’t charge you a penny unless they get you a settlement.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Now that you know the answer to, “How do you prove wrongful death?” you can learn about the possible damages you’ll collect.
To bring about a wrongful death case in Florida, you need to be one of the following:
- The deceased person’s spouse, parent, or child
- An adoptive sibling or blood relative who is at least partially dependent on the decedent for services or support
If you are the child of unmarried parents, you can also recover damages for wrongful death if your mother died. If your father died, you can recover damages if your father had gone through the formal process to recognize you as his child and was legally obligated to give you financial support.
The types of damages you can go after include:
- Medical expenses
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages, benefits, bonuses, and other earnings that the person would have made if they had lived and worked until retirement age
- The value of services and support the person provided to you
- Loss of guidance, protection, and companionship
- Pain and suffering
Calculating economic damages like medical and funeral expenses is much simpler than calculating noneconomic damages like pain and suffering. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to make those calculations and go after the highest settlement possible for you.
Working With a Personal Injury Lawyer
When it comes to wrongful death, the defendant may face criminal and civil charges at the same time. That means that even if they’ve been charged with a crime, you still have the right to bring about your civil claim.
For example, while a criminal trial found O.J. Simpson not guilty of murder, a civil court ordered Simpson to pay the victim’s families over $40 million in damages for wrongful death.
Your personal injury lawyer will work hard to get you the settlement you need. You won’t have to worry as much and you can focus on spending time with your loved ones when they need you the most.
If you have more questions surrounding how you prove wrongful death, reach out to Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey, and Fronrath now. Let us initiate your lawsuit and get your compensation.
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