The loss of a loved one is one of life’s most difficult experiences. If it’s the result of another person’s negligence, it can be especially traumatic, especially if the negligence comes from a trusted caregiver. After you’ve taken the time to grieve, you might decide to take legal action against the people who caused the tragedy.
In law, wrongful death refers specifically to a death resulting from a responsible party’s negligence. This term is often used in reference to caregiving, but it doesn’t stop there. A doctor who over medicates a patient could be held liable if it results in an overdose. A driver involved in a fatal accident could even find themselves on the hook for a wrongful death case if they were driving recklessly at the time.
A wrongful death case is not a criminal case, but a civil one. You may be awarded damages if you win, but the other party will not necessarily face criminal charges. Still, winning a wrongful death case can be difficult, and the burden of proof is high. Since your goal is to prove that the defendant caused the victim’s death, other possible causes have to be ruled out, or at least shown to be unlikely causes. If the victim had a pre-existing medical condition or was behaving recklessly at the time of the incident, it will be harder to prove that the defendant, rather than the victim, was responsible for the tragedy.
Even in cases where a cause of death can be clearly established, it still must be proven that the defendant acted negligently, and that this negligence resulted in the death of the victim. A reckless driver may not be responsible for the death of a pedestrian who wandered mindlessly into traffic, even if the driver was technically breaking the law.
Because of the complexity involved in wrongful death cases, experienced legal counsel is recommended before beginning such a case. The Franco Firm can provide you with the tools you need to navigate this part of the law. Call us at (813) 872-0929 for a consultation.