Wrongful death claims can be brought against a person or entity who can be held liable for death. Generally, this person(s) or entity caused a wrongful death through negligence or as the result of intentional action. Wrongful death lawsuits are a pathway for surviving family members to seek justice on behalf of the dearly departed. Usually, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate will be appointed during these claims.
What Qualifies as Wrongful Death?
Not all deaths will qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit, even accidental deaths. To qualify for a wrongful death claim, you must prove the following four elements are present.
- Negligence. We must prove that your loved one’s death was caused, either entirely or in part, by reckless, careless, or negligent actions of the defendant.
- Breach of Duty. Secondly, we must prove the defendant’s burden of duty owed to the victim. For instance, medical health providers and doctors must maintain a patient’s health. After establishing the burden of duty, we are then able to authenticate the resulting breach of duty.
- Causation. Essentially, this means the plaintiff must prove how the defendant’s negligence caused the death of their family member.
- Damages. Finally, the death of the dearly departed must be able to provide quantifiable damages. Including, but is not limited to: the cost of a funeral; loss of income; loss of potential earnings; a loss of protection, guidance, and inheritance; pain and suffering of the victim before their death; hospitalizations; medical expenses; burial costs. To successfully prove these points, the court must review the production of clear and convincing evidence is the standard. Occasionally, this includes the testimony of expert witnesses. One of our personal injury lawyer San Antonio can help you build your case around evidence and facts.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Typically, wrongful death lawsuits can derive from the below circumstances. It’s important to remember it must still contain the above four of the wrongful death elements. These causes include, but are not limited to:
- occupational hazards
- occupational exposure
- product defects
- premises accidents
- supervised activities such as daycare, field trips, and adult care
- abuse and neglect at a nursing home or assisted living facilities
- criminal activities such as shooting, stabbings, or other violence
- birth injuries
- medical malpractice
- commercial truck, automobile, or motorcycle accidents
The Burden of Proof is on the Plaintiff
Crucially, a wrongful death lawsuit is not a criminal case. It is a civil action. This distinction means the burden of proof is lower. For a wrongful death lawsuit to be successful, the significance of the evidence presented must be grievous. However, the standards for guilt are not as rigid to be beyond a reasonable doubt.
That is not to say the legal process for a wrongful death claim isn’t extensive. Typically, this process involves mediations, demands, and possibly ending with a settlement claim. However, if a settlement is not possible, a lawsuit will be filed and go to trial.
Wrongful Death Compensation
What we will seek for death compensation can be broken down into two parts. First, the monetary damages surrounding the death of your loved one are surmised. Second, monetary value for your pain and suffering are determined. Together, this is the settlement we will seek. Both your lawyer and the at-fault party’s insurance provider will use the per diem or multiplier methods to reach and agree on a settlement offer.
Once a settlement is accepted, one of our personal injury lawyer San Antonio will receive a check following the settlement from the at-fault party’s insurance company. The lawyer fees are deducted, with the remaining agreed-upon amount funds are paid directly to the plaintiff(s), not to the deceased’s estate. Fortunately, wrongful death settlements are not subject to estate, inheritance, or incomes taxes.
A wrongful death claim can be quite burdensome. To ensure you and your family are fairly compensated, it is essential to have an experienced attorney by your side. Our team in Central Texas is well versed in these types of claims and is here to help you through each step, from obtaining proof to settlement. Contact us for a free evaluation of your case.
To find out how we can help you, contact one of our Personal Injury Lawyer San Antonio at 512-400-7070 or send us a message. We will schedule an initial client consultation to review your case details and lay out a game plan for your personal injury case. Additionally, we will not charge you for our services unless we obtain a settlement or verdict for your case. Whether you are dealing with an uninsured motorist, the manufacturer of a defective product, or an insurance company, AZ Law Firm will pursue the legal action necessary to secure justice and financial restitution for you and your loved ones.
- evaluating and explaining to you the pros and cons of your individual case
- discussing with you any available options and our proposed strategies as it relates to your case
- providing guidance and recommendations regarding any proposed settlement offer
- quickly and effectively communicating with you during each step of the process so that you are not left in the dark
- taking your case solely on a contingent fee basis
- and aggressively protecting and defending your rights
We understand times are tough and that there probably hasn’t been a tougher time in your life. Although we could get away with charging exuberant amounts, we prefer not to as we are a law firm by the people, for the people. We do not want you to worry about whether you can afford to hire an attorney to protect and defend your rights. Call us and be surprised at the quality you receive compared to what other law firms will quote you!
Accordingly, the attorneys at AZ Law Firm will always provide you with a free initial consultation. During this initial consultation, one of our personal injury attorneys will evaluate your case, inform you of any legal options that may be available, and allow you to ask any questions that you may have. AZ Law Firm offers affordable rates for all our clients and will work with you on payment plans. Our firm accepts checks, debit cards, and most major credit cards to cover the costs of your legal representation.