A Guide to Negligence & Fault in Wrongful Death Claims

Losing a loved one is one of the most painful things in life. It is even more agonizing when the death results from someone’s wrongful actions. As a loved one or family member, you will want to fight back on behalf of the deceased and hold the perpetrator(s) accountable. Knowing that you can file a wrongful death lawsuit offers some relief. Let’s expound more on the establishing negligence and fault in a wrongful death claim:

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action that seeks to get financial compensation for an individual liable for causing accidental death. The compensation helps the family of the deceased offset hardships that they may experience following the demise of their loved one. The cause of the death determines what course of action follows the wrongful death. It is worth noting that wrongful death does not always stem from intentional deeds. An individual can be liable for a simple mistake that caused death.

Elements of negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit

Someone’s death could happen because of negligence from another party. The individual may have had zero intentions to cause death, but that is not sufficient reason to escape potential liability. If you are filing a wrongful death action stating negligence, you have to meet the following elements:

Duty of care

You have to prove that the person that caused death had a duty of care to the deceased. That means that you have to show that the individual was in a position to act in a contrary manner. Your lawyer should show that the individual could have abstained from conducting the act that caused your loved one harm. For instance, if the deceased died in an accident involving drunk driving, the driver had the duty to not get behind the wheel. The law expects people to behave reasonably to avoid harm to others. If one fails to do that, they should be liable for the damages and injuries resulting from their actions.

Breach of duty

It is not enough to show that the perpetrator had a duty of care to the deceased. You need to prove that the individual had a breach of duty. If an individual should not drink and drive, your attorney should show that they breached that duty for a successful wrongful death lawsuit.


An individual may have breached a duty of care to the deceased. However, the breach should have resulted in the death for a successful wrongful death claim. An attorney should show that the breach of duty directly caused the death.


Damage from a wrongful death case is always easy to prove. In the case of death, the damage is impossible to miss.

If you want justice for your loved one, you have to meet all the above elements of negligence. You need an experienced attorney that will prove all the elements and ensure that the perpetrator is liable for their actions and the pain they caused. You can check out this wrongful death lawyer who can help fight for your rights. An experienced attorney will help quantify all the damages you deserve compensation including pain and suffering.

Statute of limitation

Each state has different time limitations for filing for a wrongful death action called statutes of limitation. An attorney should guide you on the regulations in your state. The last thing you may want to deal with after the untimely death of a loved one is court cases. You need an attorney that will take most of the work from your hands and ensure that you get compensation for your troubles.


Filing a wrongful death claim can take this loss into account and provide some compensation. The compensation could be anything from:

Funeral expenses

The lawsuit can compensate for the costs incurred in an unexpected burial.

Medical expenses

A wrongful death action can compensate for the medical expenses that the family incurred when taking the deceased to the hospital before they passed away.

Loss of earning capacity

The untimely death could have made it hard for the family to stay afloat financially. A wrongful death action can seek compensation for the loss of income and earning potential.

Loss of consortium

The most unquantifiable loss from the death of a loved one is usually the lost relationship. It is impossible to translate the loss of a spouse or parent into financial terms. A wrongful death claim can take this loss into account and provide some compensation.

Punitive action

A lawsuit may seek to have the individual face punishment for their actions. Punitive damages ensure that the individual serves as an example to deter others from acting negligently.

Wrapping up

This guide sheds some light on the general law behind wrongful death claims. We hope you will now know a thing or two about the steps to follow if you are seeking legal redress after the death of a loved one. Ensure you seek legal help from a reputable wrongful death attorney to help fight for your rights.