The loss of a loved one is probably the worst feeling ever. No matter how much you try, you cannot bring them back. Your pain and anger might increase even more when you realize that the accident was someone else’s fault and that your loved one may still be alive if they were not negligent. Fortunately, the law allows the deceased’s family to file for compensation.
The victim’s immediate and close family members can file for a wrongful death case. However, whether you receive compensation depends on how strong your case is, and gathering evidence is an important step to strengthen your claim. If you have lost a loved one to someone’s negligence, speak to an attorney today.
Elements in a wrongful death case
To successfully prove a wrongful death claim, you must prove the following elements:
Duty of care.
The defendant, the person whose negligent actions caused your loved one’s death, must have owed a duty of care. For example, in the case of a car accident, each driver has the duty to drive safely to provide safety to other drivers.
Breach of duty of care.
The defendant caused a breach of duty of care; that is, they failed to adopt safety measures that a reasonable person would have adapted in similar situations, which led to the victim’s injuries or death.
The defendant’s failure to follow the duty of care must have been the direct and primary cause of the victim’s death. You lose the case if you cannot prove that the defendant’s actions specifically caused the death.
Your family member’s death has resulted in damages, such as medical bills up until death, lost wages, family income if the deceased was an earning member, etc.
What counts as evidence in a wrongful death claim?
Several things can be counted as important pieces of evidence in a wrongful death claim, including the following:
- Accident reports
- Police reports
- Statements from witnesses
- Medical records
- Opinions from expert witnesses
- Videos and photographs
Who can file for wrongful death damages?
Some family members or survivors who may be eligible to file for a wrongful death claim in California include:
- The spouse can recover damages like loss of companionship, mental anguish, etc.
- Medical or funeral expenses.
- Each parent of the deceased may receive damages for mental suffering if there are no survivors left.
- Minor children who depended on the deceased.
- All children if there are no surviving parents.