After your loved one died because of someone else’s mistake, you may be wondering, how do you prove wrongful death? In the most basic sense, you have to use the facts in the case to show that the actions of the other party led to the fatality, and that the other party acted in a negligent or reckless manner.
There are other factors that you and your attorney will need to be able to show to win a wrongful death lawsuit. Primarily, though, you must prove that the other party caused the death through a mistake. The other party did not have to act in a purposeful manner. The defendant’s actions could have been unintentional and still be found negligent in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Determining Who Is at Fault
Understand that some unexpected deaths are simply terrible accidents. The death is not always the fault of another person, also known as wrongful death.
There are ways you and your attorney can use the facts in the case to figure out whether the fatal accident was the fault of another party.
Steps You Must Prove
As a general rule, those planning to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one must prove a few different items beyond the fact that a death occurred, including:
- Wrongful conduct: Where, according to IC 34-23-1-1, another person’s wrongful actions or omissions led directly to the death of your loved one, such as negligent behavior or a mistake that the defendant could have prevented.
- Survivors exist: At least one person who has the right to file the wrongful death lawsuit is surviving, such as a spouse, parent, child, sibling, or grandparent.
- Damages can be recovered: The surviving family members can prove some sort of loss that fits under the definition of state law in Indiana, including medical expenses, burial expenses, and the loss of love and companionship.
Another way to look at a wrongful death lawsuit is, if your loved one had survived, would he or she have had grounds to bring a personal injury lawsuit against another party? If so, then the family members of the decedent have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
For a free legal consultation, call 317-743-7971
What Is Negligence?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, negligence involves someone acting in a manner that differs from the standard. This recklessness could lead to an accident and the death of a loved one. Some instances where negligence could occur include:
- Car crashes: The other driver failed to obey traffic laws, such as speeding or failing to yield right of way, leading to a fatal accident.
- Pedestrian accidents: A driver drove recklessly, striking a cyclist or a pedestrian and causing a fatality.
- Truck accidents: A trucking company did not follow the proper procedures for truck maintenance or loading of cargo, leading to a crash.
- Medical malpractice: A doctor or another medical professional made an error or did not follow the standard practice for care, leading to a death for a patient.
- Slip and fall accidents: Someone did not maintain property in a safe manner, causing the victim to die from a fall.
- Workplace accidents: Employers did not provide employees with a safe working environment or with the proper equipment to do the job, resulting in a fatal accident for the victim.
Using the Facts in the Case
When you and your attorney are attempting to build a case against the party that caused the death of your loved one, studying the facts in the case to find the proper evidence is key. Some of the ways to study the case include:
- Law enforcement reports
- Medical reports
- Interviews with eyewitnesses
- Photographs and video evidence from the scene
- Maintenance records of vehicles in the crash
- Interviews with experts
As surviving family members, you also need to be able to show what types of losses you have suffered.
Understand that you will have a limited amount of time to start the proceedings in the lawsuit. An attorney can help you meet all deadlines related to the case.
Helping Victims of Wrongful Death Actions
At the Sevenish Law Firm, P.C., our team is ready to help you determine how do you prove wrongful death? We focus on these types of cases, giving us a leg up against other law firms that attempt to handle all kinds of lawsuits, but end up as a master of none of them.
Sometimes, the insurance company for the negligent party in your loved one’s death may contact you, offering you a settlement amount. Some people may be tempted to try to negotiate this settlement amount on their own.
However, insurers work with these types of cases constantly, leaving the family of the decedent at a disadvantage, as the family members hopefully only have to go through a case like this once. Let us defend your right to seek damages on behalf of your loved one. Call us at (317) 636-7777 for a free consultation.