What proof must you present in a wrongful death action?

When a close loved one, such as your spouse, parent, child, etc., loses his or her life due to someone’s negligence or wrongdoing, you have the right to bring a wrongful death action against the person and/or entity responsible for your loved one’s death. 

A wrongful death can result from a variety of situations, including the following: 

  • A motor vehicle accident 
  • A premises liability accident 
  • An on-the-job accident 
  • Nursing home abuse 
  • Medical malpractice 
  • Criminal activity, such as homicide, assault, battery, etc. 

Necessary wrongful death proof 

FindLaw explains that to win your wrongful death lawsuit, you will need to present clear and convincing evidence in court of all four of the following: 

  1. That your loved one was a human being who died 
  2. That (s)he died because of the defendant’s negligence or intent to cause your loved one harm 
  3. That your loved one’s death caused you to suffer enumerated economic and noneconomic damages 
  4. That your loved one’s estate has an appointed personal representative 

Types of wrongful death damages 

The jury will award you both economic and noneconomic damages if you win your wrongful death lawsuit. Expenses for which you have receipts, such as your deceased loved one’s ambulance and hospital bills and funeral expenses that you paid, make up your economic damages. 

Conversely, the jury must estimate how much your noneconomic damages amount to since you have no receipts for these losses. Why? Because they consist of such intangible things as your loss of your loved one’s love, companionship, support, etc. They also consist of other of your noneconomic losses that will continue to occur over the coming years, including such things as your loss of your loved one’s earning capacity over the course of his or her career.