Proving negligence in a wrongful death case

posted in Uncategorized, by dcmmoguls, on November 15, 2016

If a person dies during the commission of a crime, is killed in an auto accident where

the other party is at fault, or dies as a result of medical malpractice, then the

possibility exists that a wrongful death claim may apply.

In any case, a wrongful death is traumatic because it generally revolves around an

unexpected event. When that unexpected event comes about as a result of

negligence or the wrongful act of another person, the basis for a suit exists, if the

negligence or wrongful act can be proven.

In those cases, an attorney will work with the estate or the family of the deceased

person to help them be compensated for their loss. Compensation can take many

forms, including:

 Reimbursement for pain and suffering by the victim before they died

 Recovery of medical costs

 Loss of future income and potential inheritance

 Loss of care, love and companionship the deceased would have provided

 Funeral costs

To prove negligence or a wrongful act, an attorney must prove that a defendant

breached a duty of care to the victim. For example, if a person is driving drunk, and

they get into an accident that kills a person, they breached a duty of care to be

responsible while driving. In other words, the drunk driver was negligent.

Once the breach of care standard is met, the attorney must prove that the breach

caused actual harm to the victim. This is called causation. While this standard may

seem easy to achieve in a drunk driving case, in other instances, such as a medical

malpractice suit, if a patient is near death and gets worse, it could be difficult to

prove that the doctor’s actions or lack of actions were immediately responsible for

the death.

Once causation is proven, then the attorney must prove the defendant suffered

damages and how much. An award for a 90-year- old patient will be significantly

less than for that of a young man who dies in a doctor’s care due to negligence.

Choulos, Choulos & Wyle proudly serve clients in San Francisco, Oakland and in

cities throughout the Bay Area.