No one can prepare themselves for the sudden loss of a loved one. When the death is due to the negligence of another person, grief-stricken family members often face feelings of shock, anger, and injustice. A wrongful death claim allows heirs of the deceased to file a civil lawsuit in order to sue for damages for lost financial support, funeral expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages that relate to the case.
Families pursuing a wrongful death case must prove certain elements in order to collect damages. A Philadelphia wrongful death lawyer can explain the following elements in detail and help ensure that the responsible parties are held liable.
- Proving Duty: In order for the defendant to be guilty of negligence, he or she must have owed the deceased a duty of due care, which means taking action towards keeping the other person safe, or refrain from doing something that would put the other person in harm’s way. A judge will determine if the defendant owed a duty of due care by taking into consideration things such as public policy consequences of similar cases, whether the harm was predictable, the certainty of harm, if the defendant’s actions and the harm were closely connected, and the defendant’s moral blame.
- Proving Breach of Duty: If duty has been established, the plaintiff must prove that there was a breach of duty. Like most civil cases, the plaintiff must convince the jury that that the facts presented are more than 50% likely to be true. Failing to pay attention to the road is an example of a breach of duty, as a reasonably responsible driver would be more careful.
- Proving Causation: Next, the plaintiff must prove that the breach of duty was what caused the deceased’s death. This element can be difficult to prove, particularly if there were multiple parties involved.
- Proving Damages: Finally, the plaintiff must prove that the deceased actually suffered damages. Damages will likely be presumed if breach of duty and causation have been established. However, in some negligence cases, a defendant could lose the case if there is not enough evidence to prove the nature of the harm, even if causation and breach of duty were proven.
Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates Fight for Wrongful Death Victims and their Families
If you have lost a loved one as a result of another person’s negligent behavior, contact Philadelphia wrongful death lawyers at Geoffrey B. Gompers & Associates. We have a proven track record of successfully obtaining the maximum financial compensation for families of wrongful death victims and we will not stop fighting until justice has been served.