The Herron Law Firm, one of the best wrongful death lawyers in Portland, Oregon, would like to remember the public of how wrongful death is proven in a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you lose a loved one in a tragic accident that is someone else’s fault, you probably can file a wrongful death lawsuit. But it must be proven that the person caused your loved one’s death.
Note that a wrongful death can be intentional or unintentional. An intentional death could be a murder, while an unintentional death might be a car accident.
The Four Elements of Wrongful Death Cases
- Negligence: You and your attorney must prove that the death of your loved one was caused by the recklessness, carelessness or negligent actions of the defendant.
- Breach of duty: To win a wrongful death case, you must prove that the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care. For instance, car drivers have a duty to drive in a safe manner and obey traffic laws. Doctors have a duty to keep a patient’s health and to do no harm. You must show that the defendant had a duty to your loved one and this duty was breached when the person acted negligently.
- Causation: You must show how the negligence of the defendant led to your loved one’s death. For example, if your loved one was crossing the street in a crosswalk and the driver ran a red light and killed him, it will be easy to prove that the driver caused your loved one’s death. It can get more complicated when more than one person was involved in the accident. That’s why you need to have the best wrongful death lawyers in your corner.
- Damages: To prove wrongful death, the death of your loved one must produce damages. This could include hospital stays, medical costs, burial expenses, funeral costs, loss of wages, and loss of future earnings. There also could be a loss of guidance and emotional support, as well as loss of inheritance.
Proving all of these points in a wrongful death lawsuit requires strong evidence that your attorney should be able to provide. Some evidence could require expert witnesses to testify.
Burden of Proof
It’s important to point out that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action and not a criminal one. The burden of proof in civil cases is lower than in criminal cases. To prove a wrongful death case, the lawsuit needs to be won by the strength of the evidence you and your attorney present.
To prove the case, there are several things that need to happen. Your attorney will need to develop a strong strategy for the case; investigate the wrongful death claim, talk to expert witnesses, and research tort law in the state.
The wrongful death lawsuit process involves demands, mediations, and possibly a settlement. If the sides cannot come to an agreement, the case can go to trial.
It’s important to remember that the quality of the evidence in a wrongful death lawsuit is more important than the quantity. Your wrongful death attorney will help you to construct a strong case around the evidence to indicate that the burden of proof has been met. If it isn’t, you will not get any compensation and neither will your attorney.
The Herron Law Firm wants to stress that it is important to have your wrongful death case reviewed as soon as possible by a skilled attorney. These are complicated cases, and you need to be represented by a lawyer who has experience in settling and taking these cases to trial.