If you lose a loved one unexpectedly, you will likely be overwhelmed with grief and the financial burden that comes with the loss. While no amount of money can bring back a loved one, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can give you some sort of justice and closure.
A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury claim where the deceased person’s survivors sue the party whose negligent actions resulted in their loved one’s death. Like with any other legal process, a wrongful death claim puts the burden of proof on the suing party. To prove wrongful death, you must demonstrate these elements of negligence.
Duty of care
To establish negligence, you must start by proving that the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care. While the nature of the duty of care depends on the circumstances that resulted in the fatality, you will generally be required to prove that the defendant had a responsibility to keep your loved one safe. For instance, a property owner has a duty of care to provide a reasonably safe premise for those who reside at or visit the property.
Breach of duty of care
Once a duty of care has been established, you must prove that the defendant breached this obligation. For instance, if the property owner was aware of hazards on the property but failed to take appropriate steps to address them, resulting in an accident that claimed your loved one’s life, then the court may find the property owner negligent.
Next, you must establish that your loved one died directly from the defendant’s action or inactions. For instance, if your loved one died in a collapsed building, you must prove that their death resulted from the trauma inflicted by the rubble.
Finally, you have to prove that you incurred specific damages following your loved one’s death. You can prove this by demonstrating the loss of economic support that you and your family have suffered following your loved one’s death.
Arizona law allows you to sue for a preventable death. If your loved one has died due to someone else’s negligent actions, you can file a civil claim against the party that caused your loved one’s death.