What elements are needed to prove a wrongful death case?

When wrongful death is the subject of conversation, it can bring about strong feelings of sadness, anger or confusion. If a loved one has been the victim of what you consider to be a wrongful death case, there are often many questions surrounding the circumstances and the legal process to follow.

A victim's loved ones can sue for wrongful death when negligence contributed to the person's death. Negligence is the basis for all wrongful death cases, despite their origin. It essentially means that a person or company had a duty to a person, should have exercised a certain level of care in that duty, and failed to do this. This, in turn, leads to a person's untimely and wrongful death. What are the first steps in the legal process of bringing about a wrongful death case?

One of the elements necessary to prove a wrongful death include, most obviously, the death of a human being. However, that death must have been caused by another's negligence, or in some cases, an intent to harm the deceased. There must be a representative of the family's estate appointed, because a wrongful death suit can only be brought by this person.

While wrongful death can happen anywhere, including on the highway, a medical operating table, or even a helicopter crash, and the effects are devastating no matter where it happens. Family members, friends and loved ones are all affected when a person loses his or her life. What matters is that, oftentimes, there are family members left behind who are financially affected by this loss. If the loss is due to negligence, the family may have the right to financial compensation.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Elements of a Wrongful Death Case," accessed on March 30, 2015

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