When a loved one dies unexpectedly due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else, life can change in an instant. Although money is no replacement for your loved one, a successful wrongful death lawsuit can help cover costs associated with their passing, including funeral expenses, medical bills, and other related costs. Here’s what you should know about how a wrongful death lawsuit works and how to take the first step to obtaining justice for your loved one.
Proving Duty of Care
First and foremost, it must be proven that the individual or entity that caused your loved one’s death owed your loved one a duty of care. If they did not owe a duty of care, it is unlikely that they will be held responsible for the death. For example, a doctor owes his or her patient a duty of care and a driver owes other drivers on the road a duty of care, but a homeowner does not owe a duty of care to a trespasser.
Once duty of care is established, it must be proven that negligence occurred, or that the plaintiff breached the duty of care. For example, in a case of a death caused by medical malpractice, an expert witness may be able to provide proof that the plaintiff did not order necessary tests in a timely fashion and that another physician with similar experience and credentials would have. Additionally, it must be proven that the victim’s cause of death was directly related to the breach of duty of care. Using the same above example, it would need to be shown that the plaintiff’s delay in testing caused a fatal condition to go undiagnosed, which directly caused the death of the patient.
After duty of care and negligence have been established, it must be determined what kind of damages the family suffered as a result. Economic damages, such as funeral expenses and hospital bills, are calculable. However, non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of consortium are not and may be more difficult to ascertain. Your attorney will use all available information to determine what kind of settlement would be considered fair.
Contact Albrecht Law, PLLC Today
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, your loved one deserves justice. Contact Albrecht Law, PLLC today for more information on bringing forward a wrongful death lawsuit.