5 Things You Need to Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Given that there are up to 200,000 deaths a year potentially related to medical malpractice, there’s a lot of space for wrongful death suits in the world. To file for a wrongful death lawsuit, you need to build a strong case for justice that helps to prove that your loved one was killed not by accident. While there are some overtly intentional reasons, other types of accidents are no less deserving of justice.
Here are five things that can help you win a wrongful death lawsuit.
1. Evidence of Intention
While most of the deaths that occur in the world are natural or accidental, some are caused intentionally. Murder is a capital crime and ends up being treated differently than filing a wrongful death suit. A wrongful death suit is a civil suit that you can file against someone who was either acquitted of murder or who can’t be held to it.
In cases where governments or corporations have acted egregiously and that’s resulted in death, cases get filed. Wrongful death in these cases is all that can be filed when no individual is liable to be held responsible. While it’s not the ideal outcome, it’s often the only way forward for families to get the justice they deserve.
Wrongful death cases that show an intention are often helped by evidence that there was a family dependent upon that person. When someone is killed wrongfully and they supported a family, the case has a special resonance with a jury. They’re more likely to find that there is a significant award owed to the family who is now left without a breadwinner.
2. Evidence of Negligence
When there’s legitimate negligence at play, there’s usually evidence of wrongful death in the midst. The cases where this is most likely is when there’s a workplace accident, a public employee makes a mistake, or a safety issue went unaddressed. When the death is clearly the fault of another party who should have known better, then it’s easier to blame a wrongful death on a party.
If you’re in your workplace and someone is operating equipment without a license or proper training, that person is to blame. If the workplace didn’t put safety equipment in place to protect you or any other employee from that equipment, then they’re being negligent.
Whenever anyone is intoxicated or on prescriptions while operating heavy equipment, they’re putting everyone around them at risk. When this happens, there’s a clear case of negligence.
If you’re taking public transit and an operator of a train or a bus breaks protocol and endangers you, they’re acting with negligence. When they fail to test brakes or other equipment before accepting passengers, they’re probably ignoring important safety standards.
3. A Reasonable Expectation of Safety
In many cases of negligence, one probably has a reasonable expectation of safety. No one expects a cab to take a bad turn into oncoming traffic or for a bus driver to fail to stop in a crosswalk. These instances can result in death, even while the deceased had a reasonable expectation that people would obey traffic laws.
If you’re getting onto carnival equipment, you assume that it’s been tested for safety. While there’s some expectation that accidents may occur, a death based on a failure to adequately follow statewide safety standards isn’t the deceased’s fault.
We walk through a world with an expectation of safety at all times. We expect that the lion’s cage at the zoo is going to be locked. We assume that our bus won’t be driven by someone whose license has been suspended for reckless driving.
There are reasonable expectations we have all day long and if they’re breached, they can cause us serious harm. It’s up to a jury to decide who is awarded in these cases, but it’s often clear cut when the deceased was in a situation we find ourselves in every day.
4. Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is one of the most common reasons for a wrongful death suit. When someone is under the care of a doctor, a surgeon, or an anesthesiologist, they’re assumed to be safe. The people who care for us medically are supposed to protect us from harm.
However, many of the situations we find ourselves in with them can be very dangerous. If a doctor or medical professional doesn’t exercise the utmost care, they can put the lives of our loved ones at risk. If they act without the right amount of discretion or care, they can cause our beloved relatives to die.
They can even be held responsible for ignoring important issues they’ve noticed. It’s imperative that at the first sign of a problem that they speak up. When they don’t, they put lives at risk. They fail to meet their duty and can be held responsible.
5. A Lawyer to Put the Case Together
When there’s a potential wrongful death case, you need to make sure that you can get what you’re looking for. To get the result that you and your family deserve, you need to have a lawyer who knows how to put your case together.
A lawyer can ensure that you have all the information from the autopsy, police reports, or witness testimony to help win the case. They’ll also want financial and family information to help build a strong case that a jury can identify with.
A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Is Emotional
One of the most challenging things about a wrongful death lawsuit is dealing with the emotions of your family as you go through it. Putting the case together requires you to face the death of your loved one all over again. This is a challenging feeling that can trigger depression or sadness even as you pursue closure for the death of your loved one.
For why you need a lawyer to help you navigate the system, check out our guide to how what you don’t know can hurt you.