Losing a loved one is never easy. It can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. The tragedy is even worse if the death was a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions. Your grief will be compounded with the need for justice and closure.
While no monetary compensation can make up for the absences of your loved one, you don’t have to shoulder the financial burden on your own.
You can file a wrongful death suit to help cover some of your expenses. That includes funeral costs and medical fees.
However, with any legal process, there’s always a risk of losing the case. So, if you’d like to find out your chances of winning a wrongful death suit, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, I’ll walk you through the factors that influence the likelihood of success. I’ll also cover your legal rights and provide valuable insight into wrongful death lawsuits.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits Overview
Before I jump into your chances of winning, it’s crucial that you understand what a wrongful death lawsuit is.
It’s a legal claim filed by the surviving family members of an individual who passed away as a result of negligent behavior or wrongful actions of another party.
There are many situations where a wrongful death claim is appropriate. These include:
- Car accidents
- Medical errors
- Workplace accidents
- Product defects
- Premise liability
- Nursing home neglect
The main purpose of the claim is to seek compensation for the damages suffered by the family. If the lawsuit is successful, it can lead to substantial financial settlements.
These should help you cover various expenses, like:
- Funeral costs
- Medical fees
- Lost income
Besides that, the claim can reimburse you for loss of consortium, pain and suffering, and emotional distress. Although, the amount of compensation you receive will depend on a few factors.
Factors That Affect the Outcome of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There are quite a few factors that can influence the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit. Because of that, it can be a little tricky to figure out your exact chances of winning.
So, to make your life easier, I’ll cover some of the most common factors and how they affect the settlement.
Right off the bat, you need to prove that the defendant’s actions led to the death of the victim. You have to establish a clear causal connection between the two events.
There are a few ways you can go about doing that. For starters, it’s a good idea to check for any camera footage of the tragic accident.
If that’s not an option, then you may want to hire an accident reconstruction specialist. Sadly, without a causal connection, the chances of winning a wrongful death claim are slim to none.
When filing a wrongful death suit, you should take the time to calculate the potential damages you can recover. This will greatly influence your chances of winning.
That’s because it’s much easier to agree on a fair settlement when the judge can see the full extent of the financial damage the death caused.
In order to win a wrongful death claim, you need to demonstrate liability. You have to be able to show that the defendant had a duty of care toward the deceased and they failed to fulfill this obligation.
Plus, you must meet the conditions for the burden of proof. In civil cases, this is defined as “by a preponderance of the evidence.”
That means the plaintiff has to demonstrate that the events they described are more likely true than not. To do that, they’ll need to gather plenty of evidence.
This may include:
- Medical records
- Expert testimonials
- Accident reports
Aside from proving liability, you need to show that the defendant displays negligence.
4. Wrongful Death Lawyer
To improve your chances of winning a wrongful death suit, it’s best to hire a lawyer. The attorney should understand all the legal complexities of the case.
For instance, they’ll be familiar with legal jargon and court proceedings. On top of that, they’ll help you gather evidence and build a strong case to present to the court.
Moving on, the lawyer will be able to walk you through everything you need to know about the case. That includes your rights and the potential compensation you’re entitled to.
Besides that, a lawyer will negotiate on your behalf. That means they’ll ensure you get a fair settlement. So, having a wrongful death lawyer on your side can greatly boost your odds of winning.
5. Evidence Availability
As I mentioned, you have to establish a causal link between the defendant’s actions and the victim’s death. Unfortunately, this is much easier said than done.
With wrongful death cases, the details and sequence of events can be a bit murky. On top of that, finding evidence to support your claims can prove challenging. This can have a major impact on the outcome of the case.
6. Expert Witnesses
In the absence of credible evidence, you can rely on expert witnesses to improve your chances of winning. These are individuals who can testify about different elements of a lawsuit or a victim’s death.
A great example of that is police officers. They can talk about their experiences at the crime scene and the events of the accident.
Besides that, it’s a good idea to rely on forensic pathologists. These individuals can testify about the cause, time, and manner of death.
While these testimonies don’t guarantee a win, they’ll improve the chances of a favorable outcome.
7. State Laws and Jurisdiction
Depending on where you live, the laws surrounding wrongful death can change. It’s crucial that you understand these differences to ensure you win your claim.
That’s why it’s best to hire a wrongful death attorney. They can walk you through the regulations in your state and help you build a case around them.
Figuring out your chances of winning a wrongful death suit can be a little tricky. That’s because there are several factors that can influence the outcome.
These include causation, liability, damages, and evidence availability.
Besides that, the lawyer you hire can affect the outcome of your case. Depending on their negotiation skills and experience, the amount of compensation you receive can change.
Finally, your state laws can have a significant impact on the verdict of a wrongful death suit.