Wrongful death is a civil legal action that can be filed against someone who causes the death of another person. Wrongful death law recognizes that people have a duty to take reasonable care of others and when this duty is violated, the person is responsible. A teacher, for example, has a duty to intervene if a student is in danger. The plaintiff’s attorneys must prove that the defendant’s breach of duty contributed to the victim’s death. In an auto accident, the plaintiff must show that the defendant drove recklessly or failed to exercise due care in the case.
You might also want to read: Is wrongful death a tort?
Duty of care
A duty of care is a legal term that describes what a person owes to another. In wrongful death cases, this duty is to act reasonably to prevent unnecessary harm and death. For example, a property owner has a duty to maintain the property so that visitors are safe. Motor vehicle drivers must also follow traffic laws. The judge deciding whether the defendant breached his or her duty of care will consider a number of factors when deciding whether the defendant was at fault.
To win a wrongful death case, a plaintiff must show that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care. This duty varies depending on the facts of the case. In general, a person has a duty to act in a way that keeps another person safe or from harming their loved ones. For example, a driver has a duty to follow traffic laws, while a medical professional has a duty to care for a patient. In any wrongful death lawsuit, a plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care when they caused the victim’s death.
Breach of duty
A breach of duty in wrongful death cases involves a party failing to meet a legal duty to the person who was killed. The breach of duty can be caused by recklessness, inattentiveness, or any other behavior that is unreasonable. In California, for example, a driver has a duty to ensure that other motorists do not become injured when they are driving. A breach of duty can also occur when a negligent or careless person fails to follow traffic laws.
If the defendant failed to meet its duty of care, the plaintiff must prove that the breach caused the death. For example, if a car hit a pedestrian, the plaintiff must prove that the driver failed to follow traffic laws. If the car was inoperable before hitting the pedestrian, the company will most likely not be held liable.
Punitive damages for wrongful death are awarded in cases where the party responsible for the death committed gross negligence or willfully did something that could result in harm. Such actions are often referred to as intentional torts. These actions can include drunk driving or distracted driving. Another example of intentional damage is when a party violated anti-discrimination laws.
A wrongful death award is distributed to statutory beneficiaries according to the value of the harm caused to each beneficiary. Depending on the circumstances of the incident, the wrongful death award may vary dramatically among beneficiaries. A minor child who was dependent on the deceased would receive a larger award than a grown child. Similarly, two siblings who suffered different losses may receive a smaller award than one who suffered the same amount of harm.
Recovering damages for wrongful death requires proving that someone else’s actions caused the death of a loved one. In some cases, this can be a truck accident caused by a tired or drunk driver, or even the negligence of a property owner. If you believe you have a valid claim, contact Seaton Law Offices, P.A. to learn more about the specifics of your case.
Wrongful death lawsuits are filed on behalf of the surviving family members of the deceased person. Since no monetary award can replace a human life, a court will determine an amount to compensate the family for losses they suffer. The court will take into account both economic and non-economic losses. In extreme cases, wrongful death victims may also be awarded punitive damages.