Wrongful death lawsuits hinge on the availability of evidence in the case. Some cases are clear—such as when camera footage shows that grocery store attendants walked past a spill before it became the source of a serious head injury.
Other cases are much more complicated to prove, including product defects and medical malpractice.
No matter the cause of your loved one’s death, the challenge in a wrongful death lawsuit is proving that the person who owed your loved one a duty of care was negligent in carrying out that duty.
We’ll present different wrongful death scenarios and explain how evidence plays a role in showing that the defendant could have prevented your loved one’s passing had they acted differently.
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Negligence has four parts to it:
- The other party had a duty of care toward your loved one.
- That party breached that duty of care toward your loved one.
- The breached duty of care directly caused your loved one’s injuries and untimely death.
- You suffered damages as a result of the other party’s breached duty of care.
Proving negligence will vary based on the circumstances leading up to your loved one’s death. For example, a worksite death might look like a workers’ compensation claim at first. With the investigation, you might learn that equipment malfunctioned despite your loved one’s employer maintaining it according to provided guidelines.
Now you might have a wrongful death case against the equipment manufacturer. Their duty of care is to ensure that their equipment is safe for use. Putting a defective product on the market is a breach of that duty of care.
Your attorney will present the maintenance schedules for the equipment to prove that the employer did their part.
Medical malpractice lawsuits will include proving different circumstances. In these cases, your attorney will work to prove that the medical professional or treatment facility failed to provide the standard of care set forth by the healthcare industry.
This means showing the medical records for your loved one and using expert testimony from other professionals to show that the care your loved one received did not meet the prescribed standards.
How To Collect Evidence in Wrongful Death Cases
Since proving negligence is different in various types of wrongful death cases, collecting evidence will also look very different. That’s why you should not try to prepare a wrongful death lawsuit alone.
A skilled wrongful death attorney knows how to evaluate the details surrounding a person’s untimely passing and evaluate what evidence will present the strongest proof in your loved one’s case.
Cooperating and collaborating with your attorney on this matter will help ensure a successful case. In a car accident wrongful death case, this might mean presenting photos from the accident scene that show skid marks or vehicle impact locations, making it clear which driver caused the accident.
Because wrongful death cases can get complicated, it’s a good idea to retain counsel as soon as possible following the death of a loved one. In Indiana, you must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the passing of your loved one. Collecting evidence can take time, so the sooner you begin the process, the better.
Stewart & Stewart offers a team of experienced and trusted wrongful death attorneys. Schedule a free consultation to get insights into how to prove the wrongful death of your loved one and the best next steps for your case.