Grieving the loss of a loved one is difficult, and it can be even harder when your loved one died unexpectedly. Although you may have family and friends to lean on during this emotionally difficult time, healing can feel impossible if you know someone else is responsible for the accident that led to your loved one’s death. Your family member deserves justice for what’s happened, and you and your family deserve compensation for the suffering you’ve all been put through.

Thankfully, you can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased and obtain a settlement for any losses you’ve suffered. If you live in California, you can learn more about the wrongful death legal process here. Most states have similar wrongful death processes; however, the family members eligible to file wrongful death claims and the statute of limitations on filing may differ. 

How to Know Wrongful Death Has Occurred

Fatal accidents happen frequently throughout the country, but a fatal accident won’t be considered wrongful death unless negligence caused the accident. For example, if a worker falls off a ladder and dies by mistake, the fatal accident may not be wrongful death because no one else is at fault; however, if a drunk driver kills a victim in a car accident, then the driver’s negligence makes the fatal accident a wrongful death.

Fatal accidents commonly involving wrongful death include car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, work-related accidents, and product-defect accidents.

Proving the Negligence of the Liable Party 

To successfully obtain a settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prove negligence against the liable party in your loved one’s accident. You must also prove that the liable party’s negligence directly caused your loved one’s death. You can use evidence like photographs, witness testimony, video footage, and medical records to support your argument in court. 

Damages You Can Recover

Once you can convince the jury that the defendant is guilty of wrongful death, then you can recover both financial and non-financial losses. Your financial losses may include any medical expenses you covered before your loved one passed away and lost income if your deceased loved one contributed income to the family. Your non-financial losses may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of consortium, and loss of enjoyment of life.