When someone dies as the direct result of another party’s reckless or negligent actions, the deceased’s family may file a claim with the help of a wrongful death lawyer to recover compensation for their loss. In general, if the deceased would have had a valid personal injury claim had they lived, the family has grounds for a wrongful death claim. Below, Gary C. Mitchell, P.C. of Ruidoso, NM, discusses the four elements you need to file a successful claim.
Ask a Wrongful Death Lawyer: What Are the Elements of a Valid Claim?
In order to have grounds for a claim, you must prove your loved one died as the direct result of someone else’s carelessness, recklessness, or negligence. For example, if your loved one died in a collision with a drunk driver, you would likely have a valid claim. If they died in an accident because the road conditions were poor, though, negligence may not have been a factor, and thus you would not have a claim. If you’re not sure whether your loved one’s death was the result of negligence, an accident lawyer can assess your case.
2. Breach of Duty
To have a valid claim, the liable party must have owed the deceased a certain duty of care and then breached said duty. For example, health care providers have a duty to provide a reasonable standard of care. If they fail to do so and a patient dies as a result, a wrongful death lawyer can help the patient’s family file a claim.
The breach of duty must have directly contributed to the deceased’s death. If a doctor commits medical malpractice but the patient dies of complications unrelated to the malpractice, it would not be a valid claim.
4. Quantifiable Damages
The family needs to be able to prove the death of their loved one resulted in quantifiable damages. An experienced attorney can help you calculate the damages, which might include medical bills, funeral costs, loss of potential earnings, and pain and suffering.
If you recently lost a loved one in a preventable accident and think you may have a valid claim, turn to Gary C. Mitchell, P.C. in Ruidoso, NM. You can learn more about the legal team by visiting their website. Although no amount of money can bring your loved one back, a settlement can help you cover funeral costs and maintain your financial security despite the loss. Call (575) 257-3070 to schedule a consultation with a wrongful death lawyer today.