Under all circumstances, an untimely death is devastating. It can leave remaining family members in a highly emotional and fragile state, impacting them financially and legally. To seek recourse, surviving members may seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.
To cut down on a number of frivolous lawsuits, in recent years, the burden of proof has become much more complicated. To prove a wrongful death claim, one must prove the following elements of liability:
Duty – It must be shown that the party who caused the wrongful death had a duty to protect the deceased from acting in a way that could have foreseeably predicted that a death might take place.
Breach of Duty – Did the defendant act in a negligent way or fail to meet an appropriate standard of care?
Causation – It must be shown that the defendant’s actions or failure to act were the cause of the wrongful death. This can be the most difficult part to prove since several acts may have contributed to the actual death.
Damages – Was there significant financial damage to the person’s surviving relatives. If so, to what degree? Damages are often calculated according to fixed formulas in many courts. The amount can depend on the age, occupation and financial contributions of the deceased, among other elements.
Reputation means a lot when selecting an appropriate wrongful death lawyer. Someone who is known in the legal community as being particularly aggressive can achieve high settlements for your case if they have a proven track record of doing the same in previous cases.
Also, because wrongful death claims can be very labor intensive, it’s best to seek an attorney who is not already overloaded with work so that he or she will be able to devote the time necessary to properly pursue your claim.
Zagrans Law Firm proudly serves Cleveland and the surrounding Ohio communities of Brooklyn, Lakewood, East Cleveland, Parma, Seven Hills, Rocky River and University Heights.