What Happens in Wrongful Death Cases?

Wrongful Death Cases

wrongful death case

A loss of a loved one under any circumstance is not fair. When that loss feels as if it could’ve been avoided, it can make the tragedy more upsetting. If you’ve found yourself in this kind of situation, you’re likely interested in finding justice for this wrong. 

If this is your first time dealing with such a tragic event, you may feel uncertain about what exactly happens should you choose to pursue legal actions. Numerous questions may arise like:

  • How do I pursue this claim?
  • Where do I start?
  • What can I expect during the process?

We’ll walk you through everything that you need to know about the process.


What is a Wrongful Death Claim? 

If a person passes away due to negligence of another person or entity, legal action can be taken by those representing the deceased. The family and dependents of the deceased have the grounds to file a wrongful death claim. 

The types of fatal incidents or accidents that tend to fall under the umbrella of a wrongful death case can vary. A car accident that occurred due to a driver running a red light and hitting a walking pedestrian would be one example. Another example is a speeding driver switching lanes without signaling and hitting another driver, forcing the hit driver’s car to spin out and crash.

If you can prove that another’s negligence contributed directly to the issue at hand, then this kind of case would be worth pursuing. Conversely, if the deceased was at fault, then wrongful death would be more difficult to prove. 

Companies and even government agencies do have the ability to be found legally at fault for a person’s death. A certain amount of evidence will need to be gathered in order to bring about this case in a way that will be successful. 


Elements of Wrongful Death Cases

What evidence are we talking about? A wrongful death case can be complicated, and much of the process of putting such a case together will revolve around proving a number of different elements. 

Negligence & Duty of Care 

There are a number of elements that must be proven in order for this kind of claim to be successful. The most important of those elements would be proving negligence by the driver. 

The party filing the wrongful death claim must be able to prove that the other person or business was responsible for the death by acting in a careless or reckless manner. 

It might be a rideshare company that failed to follow proper background checks of their driver or a drunk driver. No matter the specifics, some element of a lack of care must be present for this type of case to proceed.

Motorists have a responsibility to obey all traffic laws and regulations while on the road. If a motorist fails to do so, they may be found liable. This is what will need to be presented in your claim.

In relation, gathering evidence will also need to be executed in a legal manner. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you gather the evidence you’ll need to build a strong case. 

Damage & Causation

One of the more difficult parts of a wrongful death case is proving that the loss of the deceased was detrimental. In other words, the loss resulted in quantifiable damages for the deceased’s loved ones. These damages take many forms. The most common include medical bills and funeral costs. 

If the party filing the claim relied upon the deceased for income, earnings, or protection, this will affect compensation. It’s for this reason, that only those immediately close to the deceased can bring this type of case forward. 

Strong evidence will be needed in order to prove the extent of these damages. Also, some might even require the assistance of an expert witness. 

In addition to presenting the damages lost, negligence must be proven. Therefore, a direct link to the damages because of the negligent party’s actions needs to be made.


Filing a Wrongful Death Claim


The laws regarding filing a wrongful death lawsuit actually vary somewhat from state to state. Most states have laws surrounding who can bring this kind of lawsuit forward. In some states, the authorized individual will be in charge of an estate. This individual does not need to be directly related to the deceased.

In others, the authorized individuals will be family members blood-related to the deceased. 

There are also time limits in various states regarding when this kind of case can still file. For example, in California, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is two years

You’ll need to work with an experienced attorney to ensure that your case is filed and proceeds as it should. 


Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer?

Loss is never easy to bear and even more difficult when it feels like a great injustice is at play. If you’re looking to bring a wrongful death case forward, you’ll need to understand what these cases look like and how to proceed. 

Contact The Law Offices of Daniel Kim to explore your options. The consultation is free, and no one is obligated to hire us before we provide assistance.