How to know if you have a case for wrongful death?

January 5, 2023

How to know if you have a case for wrongful death?

Personal injury lawsuits for wrongful death are filed against the negligent party who caused someone’s death. Wrongful death claims can be made when a person who could have filed a personal injury claim against another party dies because of the wrongdoing of the defendant. This means that the family can ask for money to cover medical bills, funeral costs, pain and suffering, and other losses.

If you have lost a loved one in a personal injury accident, you should be aware of the key components of a wrongful death case. Each state has its own set of rules that govern wrongful death claims. However, there are some general principles that are shared by most states in terms of both the nature of the wrongful death claim and the procedure controlling the lawsuit.

What is wrongful death?

Wrongful death is defined as the loss of life as a result of another person’s unjust or improper act. These actions include, but are not limited to, negligence, medical mistakes, battery, assault, manslaughter, and murder. 


Wrongful death cases are typically filed by the deceased’s family, which may be compensated for both personal loss and financial support. A spouse or child of the person who died may have lost money in addition to the pain of losing a loved one.

Common causes for wrongful death

Almost any accident or injury caused by carelessness or other wrongdoing could lead to a wrongful death suit. The following are the leading causes of wrongful death in the United States:


  • Automobile, truck, and bicycle accidents
  • A pedestrian accident caused by another driver’s negligence
  • Medical malpractices like misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, surgical errors, emergency room errors, and prescription drug errors
  • Defective products that have either undergone faulty manufacturing or fail to warn of potential injuries and death
  • Criminal acts
  • Drowning 
  • Premises liability cases like slip and fall 
  • Workplace accidents or illnesses

How to prove a wrongful death case?

The person who files a civil lawsuit is known as the “plaintiff.” The person or entity being sued is referred to as the “defendant.” The lawsuit will claim that the defendant acted intentionally or negligently and was responsible for the deceased person’s untimely death.

In most wrongful death cases, the plaintiff must prove the following elements:

  • Duty of Care – The plaintiff must demonstrate to the court that the defendant owed the deceased person a duty of care.
  • Breach of Duty of Care – The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant breached the defendant’s duty of care.
  • Causation – It is not enough for the plaintiff to simply demonstrate that the defendant violated the law or breached a duty in some other way. The plaintiff must also demonstrate that the defendant’s specific action directly caused the wrongful death.

A person’s death may result in criminal charges. However, the family might also have a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for their loved one’s death. It is critical to understand the distinction between a criminal and a civil case.

In a criminal case, the prosecutor must establish the legal elements necessary to prove that the defendant committed a crime. The legal elements for a wrongful death claim in civil court, on the other hand, are different. A not-guilty verdict in a criminal case does not necessarily mean that the person is not liable for damages in a civil case.

The plaintiff bears the burden of proof in a civil lawsuit. The plaintiff must show that the allegations are true and that the defendant caused harm. In a wrongful death lawsuit, meeting the burden of proof can be a difficult process. Your wrongful death attorney will need to gather evidence to prove the claim’s elements.


Most wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the death of a loved one. However, there may be times when you have less time, such as when filing a claim against the government or when filing a case involving the death of your minor child. It’s crucial to act quickly if you want to seek justice and compensation from the defendant.


The amount of your wrongful death settlement will depend on a number of things, such as the age of the person who died. Medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and the value of your pain and suffering will all be taken into account.

Schenk Podolsky Personal Injury Lawyers, Mesa, Arizona

Wrongful death cases are quite complicated. When you have recently lost a loved one, it can be difficult to focus on the future. While you focus on your grief and your family, a wrongful death attorney from Schenk Podolsky Attorneys at Law in Mesa, Arizona, can handle the legal aspects of your claim.


Set up a free consultation to find out more about how to protect your rights and get justice for someone you care about.