When a person is injured by someone else’s negligence, they can file a claim for compensation. However, if their injuries result in their passing, their next of kin can file a wrongful death claim instead. Here’s a closer look at the requirements to pursue such a case.
3 Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
1. Duty of Care
Much like traditional personal injury claims, wrongful death lawsuits require that the at-fault party had responsibility to the victim. Establishing duty of care varies by the situation. For example, every time a driver chooses to get behind the wheel, they have a legal obligation to other drivers on the road to follow all traffic laws.
2. Breach of Duty
After determining there’s a duty of care, a claim requires that there’s also a breach. In the case of a driver, breaking traffic laws is considered a violation. Common examples include speeding, texting while driving, and driving under the influence. Evidence of a breach of duty of care serves to establish negligence, which is a basis for many claims.
Alternatively, intentionally harming another person can fulfill this requirement. Every human has a duty to not harm another individual. As such, if they assault a person, then they’ve breached that duty.
3. Cause of Death
To stand up in court, a wrongful death claim also needs to prove that the breach of duty was directly related to the victim’s death. This aspect requires evidence, such as medical reports or expert witness testimony. In the case of an auto accident, phone records can prove that the driver was texting (breach of duty), which resulted in a crash that a medical examiner can determine was the result of the victim’s death.
If you’ve lost a loved as a result of negligence or intentional acts, contact Fitzpatrick, Skemp & Butler, LLC in La Crosse County, WI. The local personal injury attorneys fight for the rights of victims and families across the Coulee Region. Find out how the lawyers can benefit your wrongful death claim online or by calling (608) 784-4370.