The families of victims of wrongful death retain the legal right to seek justice from a personal injury lawyer. In criminal cases, justice is achieved through convictions. However, this level of justice doesn’t encompass the full spectrum of their loss. In families for which the fatality produces a financial hardship, a wrongful death suit is a necessary step. The hardship relates to a loss of support, inheritance, and protection. It also generates medical and funeral expenses that would never have been incurred otherwise.
What is a Wrongful-Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful-death lawsuit is a civil, as opposed to a criminal, claim for a fatality that is the direct result of criminal or negligent acts. It presents families with the chance to collect damages produced by a wrongful death. These damages include medical costs, funeral expenses, and future financial support for the family. Punitive damages apply if the fatality is associated with a medical malpractice.
As defined in state laws, a wrongful death is a fatality that was needless and an alternative action would have prevented it altogether. Acts such as murder, vehicular homicide, and medical injuries are often linked to these cases.
The Standard of Proof for Wrongful Death
The standard of proof in wrongful-death cases is defined by the type of case. The reason for the fatality has bearing on how accountability is proven. In negligence cases, the plaintiffs must show what reckless act the defendant performed.
In an auto accident, for example, negligence is implied by the choice to drive while under the influence of alcohol or other substances. In these cases, the evidence must support the implication that the defendant acted on their own accord. It must show a blood-alcohol content or other indications reading over the legal limit for the defendant.
In DUI cases, common defenses include necessity, involuntary intoxication, and duress. Through necessity, the defendant claims that they chose to drive while intoxicated to avoid bodily harm. An example would be Involuntary intoxication due to date rape drugs, creating a situation where the defendant did not willfully ingest the drug. The defense of duress implies that another individual forced them to drive. A conviction for the DUI rules out these defenses, and they become irrelevant in the civil case.
Medical Malpractice: A Breach of Duty
The standard of proof for a breach of duty must show how the defendant failed the victim. A breach of duty emerges frequently in medical-malpractice claims. The doctor was required by federal law to provide high-quality healthcare to the patient and failed to do so.
The evidence must prove that the doctor’s actions produced the fatality. The burden of proof lies within the forensic assessment for the patient. An autopsy provides the exact cause of death and the doctor’s accountability.
In these cases, a medical board takes action to investigate the procedure or treatment chosen for the patient. They review proper protocol defined by the hospital’s policies. The combination of these findings defines fault.
Proving Causation in a Wrongful-Death Case
Causation applies to the exact action that led to the fatality. In murder cases, a link between the murder weapon and the victim’s injuries defines a direct cause. Forensic analysis provides evidence supporting the claim. It also connects the defendant to the weapon through biological samples. The findings present conclusive support for the civil and criminal cases.
Why Should You Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
Families hire attorneys to assist with the acquisition of evidence and to guide them through civil procedures. A legal representative understands the requirements for civil cases in which a wrongful death occurred. Their skills increase the probability of a successful claim.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be difficult, as if it isn’t difficult enough already. Asking for competent, dedicated help in the process can mean peace of mind and a successful outcome. A personal injury lawyer can run interference between parties to the case and take care of the thousands of details in a calm, unemotional way. In Savannah GA, turn to Tate Law Group. We’ve handled many wrongful death cases successfully. As personal injury lawyers, we know what it takes to get justice for you.