You can prove negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit by demonstrating that the other party failed to act according to a certain level of care and that this failure caused your loved one’s death.
For example, when it comes to a car accident, you will need to prove the defendant did not drive with the same level of reasonable care and attention that a cautious driver would use when faced with the same or similar situation. An example would be proving that the defendant violated a traffic law or was intoxicated at the time of the accident.
Evidence of Negligence In a Wrongful Death Case
Usually, you will need to gather different types of evidence to show someone acted carelessly. A few common types of evidence that wrongful death claimants collect include:
- A police report prepared after the crash
- Eyewitness testimony
- Video footage from nearby surveillance cameras
- Consultations with accident reconstructionists
- A coroner’s report
There may be other pieces of evidence that can help you prove the other party failed to use reasonable caution. It is important to act quickly after the accident so that you can locate as much evidence as possible before it disappears.
Witnesses may not be able to recall what happened later as time passes, for example, so it is good to document their accounts while they are still fresh in their minds. In many wrongful death cases, the defendant will try to argue that some other major factor was the cause of your loved one’s death. They may even argue that your loved one also acted negligently and contributed to their injuries.
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Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action
A wrongful death action is similar to a personal injury action. The main difference is that a surviving loved one stands in the decedent’s shoes and brings the case on their behalf instead of the decedent pursuing compensation. Examples include:
- The decedent’s spouse
- The decedent’s living children, including their adopted children
- The decedent’s parents
To bring a wrongful death action forward, you must first show the decedent would be able to sue the defendant for damages in a personal injury case if they were still alive, according to Ohio Revised Code (ORC) §2125.01.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases We Represent
In general, someone is negligent if they do not use reasonable care. But this standard can change depending on the type of personal injury accident that led to your loved one’s untimely death. f you lost someone in a premises liability case, for example, then there are slightly different things you will need to prove compared to a car accident case.
A premises liability action covers any situation where an individual is hurt due to a dangerous condition on someone else’s property. To recover compensation in a wrongful death premises liability case, you must show the property owner failed to keep their property in a reasonably safe condition. This means providing warnings about known dangerous conditions and possibly performing routine inspections to identify any hidden dangers.
Other types of cases that can lead to a wrongful death action include:
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Dog bites
- Construction accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Bad drugs
- Medical devices
- Swimming pools/accidental drowning accidents
Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Although nothing can truly alleviate the pain and suffering of suddenly losing a loved one due to someone else’s carelessness, compensation can help you cope with the financial impact. The expenses associated with a wrongful death can be crippling for the decedent’s family.
Ohio law has identified a few specific types of damages that you and your family can request in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses related to the accident that caused your loved one’s death
- Loss of financial support based on the compensation that your loved one would likely have earned had they continued living
- Loss of the services that your loved one provided around the house and in other capacities
- Loss of your loved one’s emotional support, guidance, care, and companionship
- Mental anguish and suffering related to your loved one’s sudden and avoidable death
It can be hard to figure out how much compensation you should request or whether an expense is covered in the lawsuit. Our lawyer can review your case and make sure you pursue every penny you may be owed.
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Call Our Attorneys Today for a Free Consultation
If you recently lost a loved one due to someone else’s carelessness, call The Fitch Law Firm LLC now at (614) 545-3930 for a free case review. We serve the Columbus area, and we can help you learn more about how you can prove negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit.