If a person’s negligence causes another person’s death, the survivors can bring a civil suit asking the responsible party to pay damages. Every state’s wrongful death rules are different, but there are some laws and principles common to most states.
Parties in a Wrongful Death Action
The person bringing the suit is referred to as the plaintiff. In wrongful death cases, the plaintiff is usually a family member who files the claim on behalf of all of the deceased’s survivors. The entity or person against whom the suit is brought is referred to as the defendant, and the suit alleges that the defendant’s intentional actions caused the victim’s death.
Elements of Proof
Once a suit is filed, the plaintiff must prove various elements before damages are awarded. The defendant must be proven negligent, and it must be proven that the negligence caused the victim’s death. Typically a wrongful Death Lawyer in New London CT must prove these elements:
1. A duty of care – Plaintiffs must prove that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care. For instance, in car accident cases, plaintiffs must prove that the defendant was obligated to drive carefully and obey traffic laws.
2. Breach of duty – Plaintiffs must prove that the defendant breached the above-mentioned duty of care.
3. Causal link – It is not enough to prove that the defendant disobeyed the law or breached the duty of care; plaintiffs must prove that those actions caused the victim’s premature death. Even if a defendant runs a red light, they’re not responsible for the victim’s death if the accident had another cause.
In documenting the elements of proof, the plaintiff must meet a certain standard. While state laws describe the standard differently, most states require plaintiffs to prove negligence by a preponderance of & evidence. Many cases are settled out of court, but some are taken to trial. A wrongful Death Lawyer in New London CT can help you gather the necessary documentation and he or she can represent you in court if the need arises.