In the event that an injured victim does not survive an accident caused by the negligence of another, wrongful death has occurred. If you are a surviving family member of a wrongful death victim, you have the legal right to seek compensation for your loss.
Family members must show several different elements of their wrongful death case, including but not limited to the following:
- The defendant had a legal obligation to the deceased. People have a general legal obligation to avoid high-risk behaviors. For example, drivers must exercise reasonable caution and manufacturers have an obligation to ensure that their products are safe. Establishing a legal duty can be shown if there was a relationship, however tangential, between the deceased and the defendant.
- The obligation was breached. There is a negligence standard generally used to make this determination. How would a reasonable person have acted in a similar situation? If they would have been more careful, the defendant is considered to be negligent.
- The breach directly caused the death. Did the defendant’s actions lead to the death? If so, a wrongful death claim can be made.
- There is something for which you can be compensated. These costs include medical bills or pain and suffering. Wrongful death cases allow you to recover money for both economic and non-economic losses