When a family member is in an accident that results in the loss of their life, you and other surviving family members can experience financial loss and emotional hardship.
Not only are the cost of a coffin and other burial requirements expensive, but also the missing income and other services provided by the deceased make things difficult for their dependents. Once you prove a person is liable for an accident, you can pursue wrongful death charges.
Lawyers Wattel & York can help provide the proof necessary to show that the other party was negligent in some way.
Here are ways that you can prove that your family member was not at fault for their own injuries as you file a compensation claim.
Negligence And Duty Of Care
You must prove the other party was negligent. In general, a duty of care doesn’t have to be proven unless there was a professional relationship between your loved one and the other party.
For example, in a case of medical malpractice, the doctor owed your family member a duty of care because the clinic was treating the deceased family member.
However, in the case of a car accident, duty of care is already apparent because everyone on the road is required to follow traffic laws. To prove that the other party was negligent, they must have broken a law or acted recklessly.
Breach Of Duty
Once you’ve proven the other party was neglectful in some way, this is considered a breach of duty. This means that their actions were careless leading up to an accident and could have been avoided.
For example, in a slip and fall wrongful death case, the property owner may have caused a breach of duty by not clearing ice from their premises.
The actions of the other party have to be directly connected to the death of your loved one. If it happened by indirect means, your attorney may be able to prove how their actions led to the accident. However, in general, the only person who can be held liable is the one who caused the injury.
For example, if a pothole in the road caused your loved one to veer into another car’s path unexpectedly and resulted in a fatal car accident, the township may be liable.
Because the pothole forced the car to swerve out of their lane, your attorney may decide to put the blame entirely on the municipality that owns the road and not the other driver if they were not acting negligently.
There has to be some form of damage or proof that the accident resulted in harm done to the deceased. You cannot seek damages on behalf of your family member without proof their death was caused directly by the accident.
Forms of Damages That Can Be Used as Proof
Wrongful death damages cover the fiscal deficit created by a missing family member. In most wrongful death cases, you may be able to claim the following damages on behalf of your deceased family member.
Before the family member passed away, they may have suffered from injuries that required medical care.
These medical bills may have piled up before their death. Medical expenses stemming from the accident such as surgery, medication, physical exams, and lab tests can be covered in your compensation.
Funerals are expensive and often include the service, pamphlets, invitations, flowers, and other fees. Burial costs may be included as well. Urns or coffins are expensive. The cost of the embalming or cremation can also be added to the settlement total.
Loss of Potential Earnings
Wrongful death victims could have lived a full life and provided income to their dependents but are unable to when deceased. Their potential earnings can create hardship for loved ones, which is why you can also seek compensation for these damages.
Loss of Guidance, Protection, and Benefits
Non-economic damages can include the relationship and services that the loved one provided for their family members.
For example, they may have played a protective role in their loved ones’ lives. They also may have provided guidance and an inheritance for their descendants.
Pain and Suffering Before Death
You can pursue compensation for emotional turmoil, and the surviving family members can report to their wrongful death attorney what kind of pain and suffering their loved one experienced before passing.
They may have suffered from shame, embarrassment, grief, depression, anxiety, and other negative emotions because of their injuries. With the help of an insurance adjuster, your attorney can calculate the pain and suffering.
Does My Family Member’s Accident Count as a Wrong Death?
You can seek the counsel of a reliable attorney to guide you through the process of filing a claim for your deceased family member. They can review your case and launch an investigation to find out whether or not you are owed compensation.
There are many ways that your family member could have experienced a wrongful death. They may have been in an automobile accident.
In other instances, they might have gotten into a slip and fall accident, resulting in premises liability. There is also the possibility that your family member purchased an item that caused a fatal injury, leading to a case of product liability.
Whatever the reason is, you should speak to a wrongful death attorney to determine if you should pursue the case and how much you may be owed based on the evidence available.