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Elements of a Valid Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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When someone you love suffers from an injury or other damages due to another party’s action or negligence, you can file a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation from the at-fault party. But, if your loved one dies because of the other party’s action, you may file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Losing a loved one, no matter the circumstances, is an overwhelming experience and you might find yourself stuck or confused about what you should do next. This is why you should immediately contact a wrongful death attorney who will assist you during the process.

A wrongful death lawyer will help you recover damages, including financial losses and emotional costs, that are a result of your loved one’s death. Your wrongful death attorney will work with you in gathering the necessary documentation as quickly as possible so you may be able to file a lawsuit in a timely manner.

However, in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, it is important that you understand that certain elements need to be present in your claim. Below are the four elements of a valid wrongful death lawsuit:

Duty of Care

The first element in a wrongful death lawsuit is it must prove that the defendant owed a duty of due care to the deceased person. Duty of care essentially means that one party must act with the other party’s safety in mind. For example, if your loved one died in a vehicular accident, you must prove that the other party has the duty to drive in reasonably safe manner by following traffic rules.

Breach of Duty of Care

Once you have identified that duty of care exists, you need evidence to prove that the liable party’s willful or negligent act breached that duty, leading to the wrongful death of your deceased loved one. Going back to the previous example, you must present evidence that the accused party breached his duty of care by driving under the influence, violating traffic rules, or committing other negligent behavior.


After you have established that the duty of care owed by the defendant was breached, you must be able to prove that the defendant’s negligence directly caused your loved one’s death. Using the same example, your evidence should prove that it was actually the defendant’s car that struck your loved one, causing fatal injuries.


Once you have proof for the first three criteria, the last element that you need to prove is that the wrongful death resulted in quantifiable damages such as the deceased person’s hospitalization, funeral, and burial costs along with future income and loss of inheritance. You can also include non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of love, companionship, care, or moral support.

A Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You

In a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove that the four elements described above meet the burden of proof. The burden of proof is not measured by how much evidence you can present, but by the quality and credibility of the evidence you have.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be complicated. Our lawyers at Haffner Law can provide proper representation and help you build a solid case to prove the four elements of a wrongful death claim.

For a free consultation, contact us today.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)





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