When a loved one passes away due to someone else’s negligence, you might feel devastated and betrayed, especially if the person responsible had a duty of care. To cover your financial losses, you can file a lawsuit against the negligent party and claim compensation. Read on to find out how you can gather evidence and build up a strong case with the help of an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
How Do You Prove Fault?
Every year, there are over 200,000 unintentional deaths caused by accidental poisoning, slip and fall injuries, and motor vehicle accidents. What’s more, around 250,000 people die due to medical malpractice. If your loved one has passed away, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party and claim compensation. This can’t bring your friend or relative back, but it helps you cover the financial damage, so you can grieve in peace.
Proving wrongful death can be broken up into four components. First, you have to determine that someone had a duty to care for your loved one. Next, you’ll provide evidence of a breach of duty. This has to be linked to the death, so you need to show how the negligent behavior caused fatal injuries. Finally, your lawyer will help you to prove that you are suffering financial losses as a result of the incident.
While you might be familiar with the word “duty” in general, it’s important to understand it in a legal sense. Legally, we all have a duty to do no harm to others. For example, when getting behind the wheel of your car, you must not do anything, such as speeding, ignoring traffic laws, or driving while intoxicated, that could potentially cause harm to other people.
Similarly, people who provide a product or service have a duty to make sure that it causes no harm. This applies to medical professionals, who have a duty of care, but also to others like, for example, chefs who have to make sure their food is safe for consumption. Proving duty isn’t usually very difficult, since it is implied in many situations.
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Identifying a Breach of Duty
A more complex aspect of your case might be providing evidence of a breach of duty. Occasionally, the situation is clear-cut, but more often, there are factors that make matters less clear. For instance, a doctor might have made a mistake when treating your loved one, and the patient passed away in the week after the treatment. It can be hard to demonstrate that the mistake was negligent and not simply a circumstantial accident.
The kind of evidence you need to provide depends on your case. If your loved one passed away in a car accident, there might be photos, video footage, and eyewitness accounts. Medical malpractice cases and cases related to accidental poisoning usually require the help of an expert witness from the medical field, who can determine whether the treatment or the substance that was ingested led to the death.
Linking Negligence with the Death
Once it’s been established that the defendant had a duty and that they neglected to protect your friend or relative, you will need to prove that the actions of the responsible party resulted in death. This can be tricky, especially if there are other potential causes. If your loved one was hurt by a doctor but they had underlying conditions that could have caused their death, you might struggle to prove causation.
Similarly, it’s hard to prove that people who suffered from a medical condition passed away as a direct result of a car accident or a slip and fall injury. Together with expert witnesses, your lawyer might argue that the incident exacerbated your loved one’s condition and that they wouldn’t have passed away under normal circumstances.
Identifying the Damages
In Texas, personal injury and wrongful death cases can lead to high compensation. Some families can get $1 million or more. But before you can get compensated, you first have to prove that you are suffering financially because of the other person’s passing. This is not very difficult if your loved one paid your bills, provided for your children, or provided transportation for you.
Evidence might include past bank statements or bills, payslips from the deceased, and in some cases, witnesses. In addition to financial damages, there might be a loss of affection and companionship, a reduction in your quality of life, or mental pain and anguish. These issues also warrant compensation, and good wrongful death lawyers in Bryan, TX can find evidence in the form of witness testimonies and documents from your shared past with the deceased.
Proving fault in a wrongful death case can be a challenge. You’ll have to provide evidence of duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages. Building a strong case is almost impossible without the help of a highly experienced wrongful death attorney. As soon as you feel ready to fight for your rights, reach out to a professional, who can analyze your case, then gather and compile evidence.