If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of an entity, you can seek compensatory damages through a wrongful death claim. A good Irvine wrongful death attorney will help you hold the negligent party accountable and make sure they admit their fault.
Seeking wrongful death damages is important for a number of reasons. The loss of a loved one is understandably a tragic and shattering experience. And while you may think that a legal course is the last thing you want, you must reconsider.
This is because the sudden and unexpected death of a person can leave the family and survivors completely unprotected. Not only are the survivors emotionally traumatized, they may also come under a lot of financial stress.
Damages sought in a wrongful death claim are meant to offset this. By holding the other party accountable, you are able to recover compensation which goes a long way towards supporting the dependents and helping them stay afloat at a difficult time. In the lawsuit, you can seek damages to cover death-related expenses as well as the loss of financial support suffered as a dependent.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim
Filing a wrongful death claim is the simple part. You then face the uphill task of proving the negligence of the other party and your entitlement to damages. In most cases, you simply can’t proceed without the legal help and guidance of a reliable lawyer. Even with a lawyer by your side, you must prove four key elements of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Duty of Care: The first and the most basic thing you must prove in the claim is the duty of care. It must be shown that the deceased was owed a duty of care by the defendant. In simpler words, you must be able to prove that the party you are suing was legally required to take due care in avoiding harm to the deceased. In a crash-related death, for instance, a driver has a duty of care to drive reasonably and safely to prevent harm to any other drivers on the road. Similarly, the duty of care can be established in other scenarios.
Breach of Duty of Care: After you have established the duty of care in the previous step, you must then show that a breach of this duty of care occurred. For instance, if a driver is speeding or running a red light, he or she is breaching the duty of care owed to others on the road. For a wrongful death claim to be valid, you must prove this breach of duty.
Causation between Breach and Harm: Once breach of duty is proved, you are then required to show that this breach directly caused the harm that led to the death of your loved one. This is known as causation in legal terms. If a person breaches duty of care but their breach is not directly linked to the harm caused, causation is not established. This is why you must clearly show that the injury directly followed from the breach that occurred. In a wrongful death claim, the breach is the negligence and the harm is the event that caused the death. So there must be a clear connection between the negligence and death.
Damages: The final element of a wrongful death claim is damages. You must show that the loss of the loved one directly caused damages to you and your family. These damages can be both material and non-material in nature. For instance, material damages can be loss of contribution to household income, loss of financial support, medical costs before death, and funeral expenses. Non-material damages may include loss of companionship, loss of love and support, and pain and suffering.
For a successful wrongful death lawsuit, all four elements listed above must be satisfied. It is only then that the liability of the negligent party can be established in the eyes of the law.
Hiring a Reliable Wrongful Death Lawyer in Irvine
If you have lost someone in wrongful death incident in Irvine, we can help you. Here at Crockett Law Group, we work with you through this difficult time to ensure you get the damages you are entitled to. We also strive to minimize any strain from the legal process. Our ultimate aim is to make sure the liable party is forced to pay damages for their negligence. Call us today to discuss your wrongful death claim with our lawyers.