What makes a death ‘wrongful’?

On Behalf of | Apr 27, 2015 | Wrongful Death |

The accidental death of a loved one can be very difficult to deal with. Not knowing why a person was killed or whether an accident could have been prevented can make it all but impossible to try and move forward.

There can also be the added challenges of trying to rebuild a family and deal with the financial implications of a loss, which can prove to be too much for people to handle. In order to get answers, acknowledgment of a loss and financial support after the death of a loved one, it can be possible to pursue a wrongful death claim. In this situation, it can be essential to understand what makes a death “wrongful” in the eyes of the law.

In order for a death to be considered wrongful, there are specific elements that must be in place, including the presence of negligent or intentionally harmful behaviors.

It must be legally established that a death was suffered as a result of a party’s negligent or harmful behaviors and that those behaviors resulted in death. In legal terms, this means that a party just have had a legal duty to act in a safe manner but failed or refused to do so.

For instance, let’s consider a fatal car accident. The fact that another person caused the accident will typically not be enough to establish liability. However, if the other driver was speeding, distracted or driving drunk, he or she may be in breach of their legal duty by engaging in behaviors that have the potential to cause harm to others.

It is important to clarify that actions do not have to be illegal to be considered wrongful, and that person does not need to be convicted of a crime in order to be found liable for a wrongful death. This action is a civil one, which means that the standard of proof tying someone to a death is lower than it would be in criminal court.

This can all be a lot to take in, especially when people are consumed by the grief and stress of losing a loved one. Thankfully, it is not necessary to try and figure out the legal system and processes alone; people can work with an attorney who already understands wrongful death lawsuits and how to proceed.


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