How do you prove wrongful death?
A wrongful death action can be based on a number of underlying reasons, such as negligence, gross negligence, recklessness, or an intentional wrongful act. Proving a wrongful death will require your California wrongful death attorney to establish the elements of those claims.
Many wrongful death claims are based on a theory of negligence. In other words, a person died because another person was negligent — they did not act with the care of a reasonably prudent person, resulting in injury to another. For example, if someone was texting while driving, which caused a fatal car accident, they were acting negligently.
There are four elements in a negligence claim: (1) duty; (2) breach; (3) causation; and (4) damages. To prove a wrongful death claim based on a theory of negligence, your attorney must show:
- The other party had a duty of care owed to the deceased person (such as paying full time and attention while driving);
- The other party breached that duty of care (i.e., by texting while driving);
- The breach led to the accident and injuries that caused the death (because he was texting while driving, he crashed into another car, killing your loved one); and
- The death resulted in losses to the survivors (because your loved one is dead, you have suffered certain damages).
A skilled lawyer will prove these elements by thoroughly investigating the case and gathering evidence to support each element. This may include documentation of the accident, such as photographs, videos, and police reports, as well as witness statements. It may also include medical evidence to demonstrate that the accident was the direct cause of your loved one’s death. Finally, your California wrongful death attorney will prove that your loved one’s death led to significant financial and other losses for you and your family.