What is Needed to Prove Wrongful Death?


Losing a family member is one of the most traumatic experiences an individual or family can experience. This is especially true if that loss stemmed from another person or entity’s intentional, careless, negligent, reckless, or otherwise wrongful act. This means the death was preventable, which can add to the grief and pain of surviving loved ones.

Although financial compensation can never replace a deceased loved one, it can help you and your family members deal with the inevitable financial burdens and bring the justice and closure you need. Proving wrongful death is difficult in many situations, however, and a challenging legal battle is the last thing you need.

Put your case in the hands of a compassionate wrongful death lawyer who will aggressively stand up for your rights while providing the care and attention you and your case deserve.

What Can Lead to a Wrongful Death?

Anxious and stressed driver with beer bottle in front of car crash scene with child bike on city road.

When someone loses their life due to another person’s negligence, various types of accidents may give rise to a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. One common scenario involves motor vehicle accidents, where reckless or distracted driving can lead to fatal consequences. These incidents often result from a driver’s failure to adhere to traffic laws, maintain proper speed, or stay focused on the road.

Fatal traffic accidents can involve many parties and vehicles, including:

  • Passenger cars and SUVs
  • Pickup trucks
  • Large commercial trucks
  • Pedestrians
  • Cyclists
  • Motorcyclists

All of these accidents on the road can lead to fatalities and wrongful death cases.

Similarly, premises liability cases can contribute to wrongful death claims. Property owners have a duty to ensure the safety of their premises, and neglecting this responsibility can lead to fatal accidents. Slip and fall incidents, inadequate security measures, or failure to address hazardous conditions on the property can all contribute to fatal outcomes, making the property owner liable for the loss of life.

In the realm of product liability, defective products can also lead to fatal accidents. Manufacturers and distributors have a responsibility to ensure the safety of their products, and if a faulty product contributes to someone’s untimely death, it opens the door to a wrongful death claim. This can include anything from defective medical devices to malfunctioning automobiles.

Furthermore, workplace accidents resulting from a third party’s negligence can be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. While the law limits the right to sue an employer for wrongful death, some accidents happen because of parties not affiliated with an employer. When negligence results in a tragic loss in a job-related accident, legal action may follow.

In essence, wrongful death claims stem from a range of accidents caused by someone else’s negligence. Whether on the road, on someone’s property, due to a defective product, or in the workplace, these incidents underscore the importance of accountability when lives are lost due to preventable circumstances. An aggressive attorney holds parties accountable to seek justice for grieving families.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit?

The eligibility to initiate a wrongful death claim is tied to familial relationships and the legal standing of potential claimants. Eligibility stands with the immediate family, typically the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. These individuals have a recognized legal right to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Spouses have a prominent right to file a claim and seek compensation. The loss of a marital partner not only inflicts emotional anguish but also significant economic and practical household losses. As such, spouses often find themselves at the forefront of wrongful death claims, seeking relief for the profound loss of the tragedy.

Children, whether minors or adults, also suffer serious losses when they suddenly lose a parent and have eligibility as wrongful death claimants. The effect of a parent’s death on a child’s emotional and financial well-being leads to their right to seek compensation. Adult children, while more independent, may still pursue a wrongful death claim to address the emotional consequences of their loss.

Parents, too, can hold a legal standing to initiate a wrongful death claim, particularly when the decedent is a minor or an unmarried adult without children. In such cases, parents can be the primary beneficiaries, seeking compensation for the loss of their child.

Beyond the immediate family circle, dependent stepchildren and putative spouses may also be eligible to file a wrongful death claim, depending on the jurisdiction. A putative spouse is someone who believes in good faith that they are married to the deceased, even if legal requirements were not met.

In some instances, individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased may also have standing to pursue a wrongful death claim. This can include scenarios where non-biological or non-adoptive children, as well as individuals who were financially reliant on the deceased, seek legal relief for the economic effect of their loss.

A wrongful death attorney should be accepting and understanding of many different family situations, recognizing the right to compensation even in non-traditional families. A trusted lawyer in your jurisdiction can determine your eligibility to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. If you can move forward, your attorney can handle every step of the process for you.

Navigating the steps of a wrongful death claim requires a clear understanding of several fundamental legal elements. The basis of a wrongful death lawsuit is usually negligence, which means a claimant must prove another party was negligent in causing the death to hold them liable for resulting losses.

Central to the case is the duty of care owed by the party accused of committing the negligent or otherwise wrongful act. This duty requires individuals or entities to exercise a reasonable standard of care to prevent harm to others. The breach of this duty is the second element of a wrongful death claim, which signifies a failure to meet the expected level of responsibility.

Following a breach of duty, the connection between this negligence and the resulting death is a crucial element. Establishing causation demands a clear link between the actions or negligence of the at-fault party and the fatal outcome. This causal relationship forms the bridge between the breach of duty and the tragic loss of life, which is essential for a successful wrongful death claim.

Proximate cause adds another layer of legal complexity, examining whether the foreseeable consequences of negligence are directly related to the fatal incident. Civil courts assess whether the death was a natural and probable consequence of the at-fault party’s actions.

Damages are the final element of a wrongful death claim, involving the quantifiable losses that the surviving family members have suffered and may continue to suffer. Both economic and non-economic damages come into play, including funeral expenses, loss of financial support, and the enduring pain and suffering that those left behind experienced.

Parties cannot obtain compensation without proving these legal elements, and establishing the basis of a wrongful death case can be challenging. It becomes even more daunting while dealing with a tragic loss and adjusting to life without a close family member. Having the right legal representation by a wrongful death lawyer is necessary to achieve the justice deserved.

Steps in Seeking Compensation for Wrongful Death

The wrongful death process can be different for everyone. Here are the steps you should take when seeking compensation for wrongful death.

Consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney

The first step in seeking compensation for wrongful death is to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney. They have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the legal process and ensure that your rights are protected. A wrongful death attorney will assess the details of your case, gather evidence, and determine the appropriate legal strategy to pursue.

Gather evidence

To build a strong wrongful death claim, your attorney will gather as much evidence as possible. This may include police reports, medical records, witness statements, photographs, and any other documentation that supports your case. Your attorney will obtain this evidence and  properly preserve it for use in court.

Determine the damages

Wrongful death cases involve various types of damages that may be awarded to the surviving family members. These damages may include funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, loss of financial support, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. Your attorney will identify and calculate the full extent of the damages you may be entitled to.

File a wrongful death lawsuit

Once your lawyer has gathered the necessary evidence and determined the damages, your attorney will file a wrongful death lawsuit on your behalf. The lawsuit will outline the negligence or intentional act that caused the death and seek compensation for your losses. Your attorney will handle all the legal aspects of the lawsuit, including settlement negotiations and courtroom representation.

Negotiate a settlement or go to trial

In many cases, wrongful death lawsuits are settled before they go to trial. Your attorney will aggressively negotiate with the responsible party or their insurance company to reach a fair settlement. However, if the insurance companies never offer a settlement that properly covers all your losses, your attorney will be ready to take your case to trial and present your evidence and arguments before a judge and jury.

Losing a loved one to wrongful death is a devastating experience, but seeking compensation can help provide some financial relief and a sense of justice.

By consulting with a highly experienced wrongful death attorney, you can take the necessary steps to seek the compensation and justice you deserve. Remember, you don’t have to navigate this difficult process alone – an attorney will guide you and fight for your rights, allowing you to focus on healing and honoring your loved one’s memory.

Consultations with Wrongful Death Attorneys Are Free

Legal concept: Male lawyer working in an office, reviewing documents brought by a client for legal advice.

Following a tragedy in your family, seeking legal advice may be the last thing on your mind. However, consulting a personal injury attorney will provide you with the guidance and support you need for the legal process. The good news is that reputable wrongful death attorneys offer free consultations.

When you schedule a consultation with a wrongful death attorney, you are taking an important step towards seeking justice for your loved one. During this initial meeting, the attorney will listen to the details of your case and ask specific questions to gain a better understanding of what happened. It is important to be prepared and provide as much information as possible to help the attorney evaluate the potential strength and viability of your claim.

The consultation is an opportunity for you to ask questions and address any concerns you may have. The attorney will explain the legal process to you and discuss your options moving forward. They will provide an honest assessment of your case and advise you on the potential outcomes and potential damages you may be entitled to.

Perhaps the most valuable aspect of the free consultation is the chance to find the right attorney for you and your case. Building a strong attorney-client relationship is crucial, as it requires trust and open communication. You should feel comfortable and confident in your attorney’s abilities and experience.

Remember, consultations with wrongful death attorneys are typically offered free of charge. This allows you to explore your legal options without any financial obligation. So, take advantage of this opportunity and schedule a consultation with an experienced wrongful death attorney who will seek justice and provide the support you need during this challenging time.

Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer in Your Area Today

If you recently lost a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful or negligent act, an experienced wrongful death lawyer in your area is ready to help and support you. Your lawyer will handle all of the necessary legal steps during this difficult time and work to obtain the full financial recovery that you and your family deserve.

Time is short to file a claim, so act today. Schedule your no-cost, no-obligation case evaluation with a personal injury attorney to begin protecting your interests and your family’s financial future.

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
By submitting this form, you agree to receive telephone calls and text messages at anytime, which include hours outside of business hours (8:00 a.m. PST - 9:00 p.m. PST). This is so that we may reach you as soon as possible in order to consult on your potential case. By providing a telephone number and submitting this form you are consenting to be contacted by SMS text message. Message & data rates may apply. You can reply STOP to opt-out of further messaging. You can STOP messaging by sending STOP and get more help by sending HELP. Privacy Policy



Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.
By submitting this form, you agree to receive telephone calls and text messages at anytime, which include hours outside of business hours (8:00 a.m. PST - 9:00 p.m. PST). This is so that we may reach you as soon as possible in order to consult on your potential case. By providing a telephone number and submitting this form you are consenting to be contacted by SMS text message. Message & data rates may apply. You can reply STOP to opt-out of further messaging. You can STOP messaging by sending STOP and get more help by sending HELP. Privacy Policy