If a victim’s death is caused by another party’s negligence, that person’s survivors have the right to file a claim for damages. Known as a wrongful death case, such a claim allows the family to gain compensation for their economic and personal losses. In this guide, prospective clients can learn which elements a wrongful death attorney in Nassau County, NY can help them prove a claim.
What’s Involved in a Civil Wrongful Death Case?
During a wrongful death case, a family brings a civil claim for economic damages. Civil suits differ from criminal cases in several ways. While criminal charges usually result in fines or imprisonment, civil cases award damages to a wronged party.
Parties in Wrongful Death Cases
The person filing the claim is known as the plaintiff. In wrongful death cases, this is typically a family member who files on behalf of the rest of the decedent’s relatives. If the person died with the last will, the case might be brought by the estate’s executor. The person being sued is known as the defendant. A lawsuit may allege that the defendant’s actions were negligent or intentional.
Elements to Be Proven in Wrongful Death Cases
Once a suit is filed, a plaintiff must prove certain elements before the family can receive damages. These elements include those listed below.
• A duty of care. A plaintiff must prove the responsible party owed the decedent a duty of care. For instance, in an auto accident case, it must be proven that the defendant was obligated to operate the vehicle in a safe manner.
• Breach of duty. A plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached their duty of care. In the above example, a wrongful death attorney in Nassau County, NY must show the defendant failed to obey traffic laws.
• Causation. It must also be proven that the defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the victim’s death. To use the example from above, the defendant would not be held liable if the victim’s death was caused by something other than the failure to obey the law.
While many wrongful death cases are resolved before they make it to trial, many must be litigated. Depending on the jurisdiction, a jury or judge will decide whether a plaintiff has met the burden of proof. To learn more about wrongful death cases, browse the website or call the Law Office of Steven R. Smith.