Wrongful Death

What 4 Things Do I Need to Prove in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death claims are civil claims brought against a person who can be charged for causing the death of another person. These claims are generally stated by close relatives through civil a lawsuit. In the history of common law no claim could be made by a dead person, but the law has since changed, making it possible for the loved ones of a dead person to avenge the death. It has also allowed for claims to be made on the basis of suicide. What needs to be proven in court to prevail in a wrongful death suit? This article will break down the four most important elements of a wrongful death suit so you can better understand the likelihood of success in your case.

The 4 Most Important Elements of a Wrongful Death Suit

1. Negligence

Civil lawsuits generally require grounds, or legally supported reasons for a claim, in order to be filed. It must be proven that there was negligence involved, or carelessness for the deceased party. It can be difficult to prove this without evidence but in order for the case to be upheld it does not need to be proved fully. Even if the defending party was partly at fault, it can lead to a strong wrongful death claim.

2. Breach of Duty

It must be proven that a defendant held a specific duty for the deceased party and failed to live up to the expectations. For example, with a car accident or motor vehicle incident, motorists have a duty to follow the rules of the road, and not doing so could lead to death due to driving under the influence or recklessness on their part. It is up to the plaintiff to decide what this duty entailed and how exactly the defendant broke their duty.

3. Damages

The types of damages that plaintiffs can claim vary from states, but in California they can seek damages for the following: loss of support, loss of inheritance, medical bills, and compensatory damages for suffering. All states have statutes of limitation that allow you to sue for damages within a certain time; if you wait beyond the statute you will miss your opportunity to claim damages. Also, being a loved one does not guarantee damage funds; generally only those who are close to the deceased party can receive damages.  If you are concerned that the statute of limitations may be expiring soon for your case and are in the San Francisco Bay Area, in or around the OaklandPleasanton or Fremont area the lawyers at Mirador Law are an excellent resource.

4. Causation

The last claim that must be proved in wrongful death is causation. The plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant’s negligence caused their loved one’s death. If  a loved one riding a bicycle died after being hit by a vehicle, the plaintiff must prove the driver was at fault. If a faulty product at work led to a work injury and caused a person’s death, it must be proven that this was the main cause. Without proof of causation, the case can be dismissed.

There is no injury or loss more serious than the wrongful death of a loved one.

Not only must surviving family members live with the grief and emotional pain, there is often fear and uncertainty about financial hardship. Our firm understands that coping with the death of a loved one is difficult. However, we also urge you not to give up your legal rights. Our attorneys are here to provide you with prompt, caring, and effective legal help so you can receive the financial recovery you need to move forward after your tragic loss. Contact us at Mirador Law for a free initial consultation to learn more about how whether your family may be able to bring a wrongful death claim.

Personal Injury Lawyers Providing Personal Attention When You Lose a Loved One

Our attorneys have achieved financial recovery for families that have lost loved ones in negligent accidents involving:

Our lawyers must prove the cause of the accident was the fault of another. To do this, our team of investigators interview witnesses and gather evidence as soon as possible after an accident. A delay can result in valuable evidence being lost or witnesses forgetting important details. The sooner you call us, the better.

Contact us at Mirador Law for a free initial consultation to learn more about whether you can obtain a settlement from a wrongful death suit.


  1. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-a-wrongful-death-lawsuit-filing-information-3505254
  2. https://www.thebalancesmb.com/what-is-wrongful-death-4011631