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Survivors Must Prove Fault, Relationship, and Loss in Wrongful Death Case

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It is natural to want to seek justice for a family member who died as a result of negligence. However, the fact of your loved one’s death may not be enough to win your wrongful death claim. In order to get justice and compensation for your loss, you will have to prove three things to the court: that your relationship with the deceased is valid, that someone (or some entity) was at fault for the death, and that you have suffered monetary losses due to the deceased’s passing.

Proof in a wrongful death court can be established in the following ways:

  • Survivorship. Spouses, children, and parents who survive the deceased are all legally eligible to make a wrongful death claim. The court will need to see proof of familial relationship to the deceased for anyone who is named in the lawsuit. For example, if the deceased was your spouse, you will need a valid marriage license, and biological children may submit birth certificates.
  • Fault. You must establish a clear link between an intentional act or negligence that directly led to your loved one’s death. For instance, if your family member was killed on the job, you may submit witness testimony that an employer knew of the dangers when sending an employee to do a job, or internal documents that show a disregard for current safety measures.
  • Financial losses. A court will usually not hear a wrongful death case unless survivors have suffered monetary losses. These losses can include income that the deceased was earning (and would have earned if he had lived to full retirement age), pay increases and potential bonuses missed due to early death, and the amount of any investments or employer-matched funds that would have continued to vest during the deceased’s lifetime. Any beneficiaries who are named in the deceased's will may also make a claim if the property of trust they inherit was worth significantly less than it would have been due to the deceased’s untimely death.

Call Us to Get Answers to Your Wrongful Death Claim

At Wayne Wright LLP, we know that families need time to grieve after the loss of a loved one. That is why we fight to get the compensation you deserve while giving you the privacy you need to recover—and you will not pay us anything unless we win your case. Call us today at 800-237-3334 to tell us how we can help you.


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