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How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?

Sadly, every day, people die all over the U.S. Regrettably, some of these deaths are preventable, often caused by the negligent actions of other parties.

If you have lost a loved one due to the actions or omissions of another party, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. An attorney can help you prove that your loved one was a wrongful death victim. They can help you recover compensation for damages that you've suffered due to the loss of your loved one.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a civil action brought by the surviving family members or dependents of someone who passed away prematurely due to the negligent actions of another person or entity. A wrongful death claim is meant to compensate the living family members the decedent left behind. 

A criminal case may punish the defendant for your loved one's death. However, a wrongful death claim isn't a criminal case. These claims are heard in civil courts and are meant to make plaintiffs financially whole again.

A wrongful death action can be filed against an individual facing criminal charges. Even if they aren't found guilty of any criminal offense, they may be held liable for the wrongful death of your loved one. Wrongful death lawsuits have a lower burden of proof than criminal suits.

How Do You Prove a Wrongful Death Claim?

To receive compensation for damages, like loss of emotional and financial support, after the wrongful death of someone you care about, you must prove that the at-fault party was partly or wholly to blame for their death. But how do you prove wrongful death?

Once a wrongful death lawsuit is filed, the burden of proof falls on the plaintiff. They must prove certain elements of negligence or other torts in a wrongful death claim to recover damages.

In other words, the plaintiff must show the court that the defendant was negligent or did something wrong and that the actions or omissions led to the victim's death. Proving the civil wrong must be done before the court will order the defendant to pay any damages in a wrongful death claim.

In wrongful death actions, duty of care is an important factor that the courts consider. Individuals have an obligation to act responsibly and reasonably in certain situations. For example, it's the duty of drivers to obey traffic laws and avoid reckless actions, like drunk driving, that may affect the lives of other road users.

When filing a wrongful death claim, you first have to prove that the responsible party owed a duty of care to your loved one or wronged your loved one in some way. Working with a wrongful death lawyer allows you to find out if the at-fault party owed your loved one that duty or committed another kind of civil wrong.

Prove That Negligence or a Breach of Duty Occurred

For a successful wrongful death claim based upon negligence, you must prove that the responsible party violated a duty of care. Essentially, you are showing that the defendant did not act in a manner that any other reasonable person would have under similar circumstances. Your proof may include negligent, reckless, or careless acts by the at-fault party or the wanton disregard for your loved one's safety. 

A breach of duty can also occur if the defendant had malicious intent to harm your loved one.

For example, a driver who decides to run a red light rather than yielding the right of way to pedestrians may hit road users. A Colorado wrongful death attorney can help you prove such a driver's negligence.

Prove the Breach of Duty Caused a Wrongful Death

In a wrongful death claim based upon negligence, it's not sufficient to show that the defendant did something wrong. You must also link their actions or omissions to your loved one's death, showing Colorado courts that the defendant's actions directly caused your loved one's death.

For example, sometimes a wrongful death is caused by a number of causes.  In order to recover for wrongful death, it must be demonstrated that the defendant’s actions are the legal cause of death. 

Illustrate Wrongful Death Damages

To receive damages from the court, you must prove that surviving family members and dependents have incurred damages as a result of your loved one's death. Damages are losses that plaintiffs suffer due to the defendant's negligence. Plaintiffs may be entitled to economic, non-economic, impairment, and punitive damages in personal injury claims.

Economic, impairment and non-economic damages are compensatory damages that cover damages, injuries, and other losses incurred. Punitive damages seek to punish the responsible party for their wrongdoing.

Loss of Income

After the death of your loved one, you may recover compensation for lost income and the loss of future earnings following their untimely passing. When calculating this compensation, courts consider factors such as the victim's occupation, age, health, and salary.

Burial Costs

Funeral expenses can be quite costly. When your loved one dies due to another party's negligence, Boulder wrongful death lawyers can help you recover burial costs to pay for items like caskets, service fees, transportation, flowers, invitations, and the use of a funeral home.

Mental Pain

The death of a loved one can be incredibly painful. If your loved one passes on due to someone else's negligence, you may experience mental and emotional trauma. A wrongful death attorney in Colorado can help recover damages for mental pain caused by the loss of companionship and death of your loved one.

Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney to Secure Financial Compensation

If your loved one has passed away due to the misconduct or negligence of a person or entity, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit against the responsible parties. However, not everyone is qualified to file a wrongful death claim. Speak to a Boulder wrongful death lawyer to find out if you are eligible to file a claim.

However, certain deadlines apply to wrongful death lawsuits. In Colorado, many times you have only two years from the date of your loved one's death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It's important to contact your lawyer right away to avoid losing your potential claim due to being untimely (i.e.,  the statute of limitations has run out).

The wrongful death attorneys at Mann & Maximon are ready to discuss your case and have experience in multiple types of lawsuits. We offer free case reviews for surviving family members and dependents in wrongful death cases.

Get started today to discuss the legal options for your wrongful death claim.

Contact Us For a Free Initial Consultation

In almost all the types of cases that we handle, contingent-fee representation is available. This means that we only get paid if and when you do. There is absolutely no cost or obligation to you for an initial consultation; we are here to help you.

Call our office at 303-991-2233 or use our online contact form to get in touch with us today.