For someone to be found guilty in a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family must meet the burden of proof required in cases like these. There are four elements that are typically involved in any wrongful death case, as outlined by law. Wrongful death cases are often emotionally-charged, understandably, as the relatives yearn for a sense of justice in all that unfolded. Due to the sensitive nature of these cases, it isn’t uncommon for families to rely on guidance from a legal team that is experienced in handling wrongful death lawsuits.

As a Chicago, IL wrongful death lawyer from Disparti Law Group can explain, surviving relatives who have filed a wrongful death lawsuit will have to prove that each of these following elements apply.

#1 Negligence
The definition of negligence means the failure to take proper care when doing something, which results in the injury or damage to another person. In a wrongful death lawsuit, it must be shown that the death of the relative was caused entirely or partially by the negligent or reckless actions of the defendant. It is imperative to the outcome of the case that the surviving family is able to uncover evidence that supports their claims and connects one person’s actions to the death of another.

#2 Breach of Duty
To obtain a certain verdict in a wrongful death case, the plaintiff has to prove the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim who lost their life. For instance, drivers have the duty to operate their vehicle safely and not violate traffic laws, and medical professionals have a duty to not harm their patients because of an oversight or mistake. The surviving family will have to establish the connection between a duty of care existing and how this was breached through negligent actions.

#3 Causation
In addition to showing proof that negligence with a factor and someone owed a duty of care to another, the surviving family has to show that the defendant breached their duty of care which led to the loss of life. The surviving family in the lawsuit will be required to prove that the defendant engaged in negligence which directly resulted in the death of their loved one. Without a strong link from causation to death, it will be more difficult to yield a successful outcome.

#4 Damages
To have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim’s loss of life must have generated damages for the surviving family that are quantifiable, such as medical bills, hospitalization, funeral costs, burial expenses, loss of income, loss of protection, loss of potential earnings, and the degree of pain and suffering the victim experience before death. Being able to prove these points in a wrongful death case means that strong and reliable evidence is brought forward and can connect these elements together. Evidence must show that someone owed a duty of care to the deceased, breached their duty of care which led to the death, and that damages resulted.