Wrongful Death: What to Know before Filing a Claim

Posted on: 10 March 2021


If someone you love was killed as a result of someone else's actions or negligence, there may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Most people have heard of wrongful death lawsuits, often in advertisements and media, but you may not really understand what constitutes a wrongful death case. Understanding whether or not you can file a wrongful death claim and what evidence you need for your case can help you to determine if this is a path you should pursue. Here's a look at what a wrongful death attorney will want you to know.

Can You File a Wrongful Death Suit?

Understanding whether or not you can file a wrongful death suit actually means considering a few different factors. The most obvious factor is the cause of the death and the situation that led up to it. You can only consider a wrongful death claim if the deceased was killed as a result of someone else's actions or the negligence of another party.

Additionally, even if there's evidence that someone was responsible for the death, that isn't a guarantee that you can file a wrongful death suit. Every state has its own laws and regulations regarding who can file such a claim on behalf of the deceased. These laws prevent a stranger or distant relative from financially benefitting from someone's death.

Your wrongful death attorney can help you understand the specific laws in your state, but in most cases, you must be a spouse, parent, or child of the deceased to file a wrongful death claim. In others, only the executor of the estate may file a claim on behalf of the deceased's estate.

Can You Prove a Wrongful Death Suit?

When you talk with a wrongful death attorney, the first thing that they will want to know is whether or not there's a good chance of proving wrongful death in court. There are three things that must be considered when it comes to proof of wrongful death.

The very first factor is the responsibility of the defendant. You must be able to prove that the defendant had a responsibility to the deceased. For example, in the case of a doctor, responsibility is easier to prove because the doctor needs to provide care. If the deceased was killed in an accident on a commercial property, you'll have to be able to show that the deceased was either a customer, an employee, or otherwise fell under the responsibility of the commercial property manager.

Once you can show that the defendant had a responsibility to the deceased, you then need to prove that the situation resulting in the death was negligent or the fault of the defendant.

Finally, you have to prove that the hazard, negligent behavior, or direct action was the cause of the death. The autopsy report and the police report will prove to be your best evidence in this situation.

Talk with a wrongful death attorney today to see if there's a potential wrongful death claim in your situation.