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How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?

Pile of books, gavel and Wrongful death lawsuit.

Losing a loved one is an emotionally devastating experience, and it can be even more traumatic if their death was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. In such cases, surviving family members may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for their loss. But how do you prove wrongful death in California? Here’s what you need to know.

Understanding Wrongful Death

Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to the negligent, reckless, or intentional actions of another individual or entity. Common causes of wrongful death include car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and criminal acts.

Key Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

To prove wrongful death, the plaintiff (usually a close family member of the deceased) must establish four key elements:

  1. Duty of Care: The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. For example, drivers have a duty to obey traffic laws and operate their vehicles safely. This duty is owed to other drivers as well as other roadway users, including bicyclists and pedestrians.

  2. Breach of Duty: The defendant breached that duty of care through negligence or wrongful actions. For instance, a driver who runs a red light and causes a fatal accident has breached their duty of care.

  3. Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty caused the death of the deceased. This means that the death would not have occurred if not for the defendant’s actions.

  4. Damages: The death resulted in measurable damages, such as medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and emotional suffering of the surviving family members.

Proving Wrongful Death

Proving wrongful death requires presenting evidence that supports each of the above elements. This evidence can include:

  • Witness Testimonies: Statements from individuals who witnessed the incident or have relevant information about the events leading to the death.

  • Expert Testimonies: Specialists in fields such as accident reconstruction, medical practice, or economics can provide expert opinions on how the death occurred, the extent of the damages, and the financial impact on the family.

  • Medical Records: Documentation of the deceased’s injuries and medical treatment can help establish the cause of death and its link to the defendant’s actions.

  • Police Reports: In cases involving criminal acts or traffic accidents, police reports can provide crucial details about the circumstances of the death.

  • Physical Evidence: Items such as damaged vehicles, photographs of the accident scene, or surveillance footage can help reconstruct the events and demonstrate the defendant’s negligence.

Challenges in Proving Wrongful Death

Proving wrongful death can be complex and challenging. Defendants may argue that the deceased was partially or fully responsible for their own death, or they may dispute the extent of the damages claimed by the family. It’s crucial to have a skilled personal injury attorney who can navigate these challenges, gather and present compelling evidence, and effectively advocate for the rights of the deceased’s family.

Contact Kistler Law Firm in Palmdale for Help Obtaining Justice for the Wrongful Death of a Loved One

Proving wrongful death is a multifaceted process that requires a thorough understanding of the law and a meticulous approach to gathering and presenting evidence. If you believe your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions, it’s essential to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve. At Kistler Law Firm, our compassionate and dedicated team is committed to supporting families in Palmdale, California, through this difficult time and helping them hold the responsible parties accountable. Call 661-206-6990 for a free consultation to talk about what happened and find out how we can help.


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