Sometimes, the surviving family members of a person whose death has been caused by the negligence of another person or entity can seek damages from the responsible party through a wrongful death civil lawsuit.
What is a Wrongful Death Civil Lawsuit?
First, understand that wrongful death cases are civil lawsuits and not criminal lawsuits.
During a criminal lawsuit, a district attorney or prosecutor files charges against a defendant, and generally, those charges result in punishments varying from fines to imprisonment – but not damages awarded to the surviving family members following a wrongful death.
On the other hand, a civil suit – such as a wrongful death claim – aims to award monetary damages to the surviving family members.
Thus, a wrongful death civil lawsuit is one in which the surviving family takes the potentially responsible party to court to sue for monetary damages after the wrongful death of their loved one.
Who is Involved in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are two parties involved in wrongful death lawsuits:
- The Plaintiff: The plaintiff is the person who brings the civil lawsuit to court. Generally, the plaintiff is a close family member, but sometimes the plaintiff is the executor or personal representative of the deceased’s person’s estate (if the deceased person died with a will). In this case, the executor or personal representative brings the case forward on behalf of the deceased person’s heirs.
- The Defendant: The defendant is the person or entity against whom the plaintiff brings the case. During a wrongful death case, the lawsuit alleges the defendant acted in such a way –either negligently or intentionally – that caused the untimely death of the surviving family member’s loved one.
How Do You Prove Fault in a Wrongful Death Case?
After the plaintiff files a wrongful death lawsuit, he or she has the burden of satisfactorily proving an array of factors before the surviving family can be awarded any damages.
Simply put, these factors must show the negligence of the defendant, and that it was because of this negligence the deceased person died.
Elements the plaintiff must prove during a wrongful death lawsuit include:
- Duty of Care: Did the defendant owe the deceased person a certain duty of care?
- Breach of Duty of Care: Did the plaintiff breach said duty of care?
- Causation: Can the plaintiff prove the defendant acted in such a way that directly caused the wrongful death?
A skilled personal injury attorney with experience in wrongful death lawsuits is crucial to the plaintiff’s burden of proof regarding each of these elements.
Have a Potential Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Losing a loved one is hard; losing a loved one due to wrongful death can be even harder.
If you believe you have a potential wrongful death lawsuit, contact the wrongful death attorneys at Scott J. Sternberg & Associates right away. Serving the West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Orlando, and other Florida areas, we have the personal injury lawsuit experience – specifically, experience with wrongful death civil lawsuits.
We can help you navigate the civil lawsuit system and get you and your family the compensation you deserve.
Call us at (561)-687-5660 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation today.
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