The loss of a loved one can be difficult to cope with, but when the death is caused by the negligent or reckless behavior of another party, it can be even more devastating. These types of unfortunate situations can manifest in a variety of ways, such as medical malpractice, a fatal workplace accident, a fatal car crash or even due to a defective product. But, in the end, there is still a loss of life that needs to be accounted for.
When a person dies due to the reckless or negligent behavior of another party, the surviving family members of the deceased may be able to pursue damages in a wrongful death claim. The validity of almost any claim will be dependent on a showing of certain elements.
First, the family members filing the wrongful death lawsuit, who would be the "plaintiffs," will need to prove that the death of their loved one was in fact caused by the other party -- the "defendant." The cause of death will likely need to be attributed to the defendant's negligent or reckless behavior. This is the crux of any wrongful death case.
Next, the plaintiffs will need to show that they have suffered a monetary loss due to the untimely death of their loved one. Typically this will include a showing that the deceased was a wage earner who contributed to the overall income of the household. The plaintiffs would typically need to make this showing by proving the deceased's income at the time of death, as well as projecting out future earnings. Since this post is for informational purposes only, and cannot serve as the basis for any legal claim, those who need to learn more about the elements of a wrongful death claim may want to engage the services of a legal professional.
Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Overview," Accessed Feb. 21, 2016