If you have lost a loved one because of negligence or a wrongful act, then you may be able to file a wrongful death suit against the responsible party.
But what is a wrongful death case, and how do you know whether yours has legs?
In this article, we’ll discuss how hiring a lawyer can help you get the court settlement you deserve.
What Is a Wrongful Death Suit?
A wrongful death suit allows the surviving members of a deceased’s family or their estate to sue for legal damages when someone else’s negligence or recklessness has caused the death.
The specific definition of what constitutes wrongful death will differ between states; for example, in Texas, it is defined as a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”
When filing a suit, you will be seeking damages that might include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Any income that the deceased would have earned
- Compensation for loss of companionship and support
In addition to these, you may also be able to claim other damages that may be specific to your individual case.
How Can You Tell Whether a Wrongful Death Suit Has Legs?
One of the most common types of wrongful death suits is negligence. But how can you tell whether your wrongful death case has legs?
Let’s take a look at what qualifies as wrongful death.
There needs to be the existence of four elements to count as a wrongful death claim. These are duty, breach, causation, and damages.
The first part of a wrongful death claim is to prove that the opposing party had a duty of care toward the deceased.
This means that they should have shown reasonable care and attention to prevent any hard from coming to them.
The next thing that needs to be proved in a wrongful death suit is that the opposing party breached its duty. An attorney would look to prove that the opposition didn’t act reasonably and prudently.
Some examples of breach of duty may include:
- A doctor not providing adequate care given their skill level or experience
- A driver ignoring traffic regulations
- A business owner not taking adequate care to ensure there are no hazards in their establishment
This is not an exhaustive list. A lawyer will be able to tell whether or not someone has breached their duty.
The next step in the process is to prove that the opposing party’s breach is what actually caused the death of your loved one.
This can be the hardest part of the case to prove. You’ll need to prove that your loved one died due to a breach of duty.
Finally, you’ll need to prove that damages exist. These might include:
- A loss of inheritance
- Lost capacity for earning
- Lost companionship and support
- Pain and suffering
Many of these damages can be hard to put a value against; however, a skilled attorney will help you.
Filing Your Wrongful Death Suit
If all of these things are present, then you should consider going to court. Hiring an attorney is essential if you are to get the maximum compensation in your wrongful death case.