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Basics Needed to File a Wrongful Death Claim

Wrongful or unintentional death is one of the leading causes of fatalities. If you lose a loved one due to another person’s negligence, you can claim damages to help you with the financial responsibilities and ensure that they are more careful next time. However, before you claim wrongful death, there has to be proof that the defendant was negligent and that their negligent actions caused the accident. This means holding someone liable or proving fault. 


Proving fault can be very challenging. You will need the help of an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Austin. After scrutinizing the basics, these attorneys work with an expert professional who will look into the incident and find evidence of negligence.


Here are some of the basics needed to file a wrongful death claim.


Evidence of Death


You cannot claim wrongful death without proof of fatality. For example, if the victim perished in a boating accident, and the dependents suspect that the property owner was negligent, this can include retrieving the body from the water.


Cause of Death


When you are claiming wrongful death, there is a burden of proof that you have to meet. This means proving that the death of your loved one was caused by negligence or intent to harm, and the person you are seeking damages from or suing was negligent. 


To do this, your attorney must show that the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care. Duty of care means that the defendant could have prevented the accident but failed to do so. For example, a doctor owes their patients duty of care, and they have to make the right diagnosis or prescribe the right medication. A driver, on the other hand, owes other road users the same care. 


If a driver fails to ensure care by driving while drunk or distracted, and breaking traffic and road rules, they can be guilty of breaching their duty of care. When it comes to medical professionals, there has to be proof that the doctor, surgeon, or nurse failed to do what any other professional in the same capacity and situation could have done to prevent the patient’s death.


Your attorney has to establish the defendant’s duty of care and prove that they failed to meet or breached their duty of care. 


Injustice and Monetary Suffering of the Dependents


When claiming wrongful death, the dependents or surviving relatives need to show some injustice or financial burden. They have to prove that their suffering is a direct result of their loss.


Monetary suffering could include loss of inheritance, loss of financial support if the deceased was a sponsor, loss of expected income if the deceased was the breadwinner of the family or was taking care of his/her parents, medical, funeral, burial, expenses, and more. Spouses and underage children can also claim loss of emotional or social support. 


A Known Dependent or Administrator of the Deceased’s Estate


Not all relatives can claim wrongful death. The person allowed to bring this lawsuit depends on the state. Your attorney will help you determine if you can make a claim or who in your family is allowed to make a claim. This can be the deceased’s spouse, children, parents, or any other person who directly relied on the deceased financial help. 


Some states also allow life partners to claim wrongful death. If the deceased had a will, the deceased estate executor or a representative of the family could claim.

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