Wrongful Death Claims: 10 Crucial Elements to Consider

A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit that can be brought against an individual or group for the death of another.

Wrongful death claims are complicated and emotionally charged cases that require skillful handling by a wrongful death attorney in El Centro.

When deciding whether or not to pursue a wrongful death claim, there are crucial elements that must be considered.

1. Age

The deceased person’s age, health, and financial situation at the time of their death are all important factors in determining the validity of a wrongful death claim.

The law recognizes these facts as important for establishing damages for lost wages, medical bills, and pain and suffering.

2. Liability

Liability is one of the most important elements in any legal case.

For a wrongful death claim to be successful, it must be proven that the defendant was either negligent or reckless in some way that led to the death of the victim.

3. Relationship

The relationship between the deceased person and those who may bring a wrongful death suit is also crucial in determining if a case can move forward.

Generally speaking, only close family members such as spouses, children, parents, siblings, or other dependents can bring suit against an individual for wrongful death damages.

4. Economic Damages

There must also be proof of economic damages. This means evidence demonstrating how much money was lost due to medical expenses or lost wages due to the death of the victim.

5. Non-Economic Damages

It is also essential to prove non-economic damages such as mental anguish and emotional distress suffered by survivors due to the loss of their loved one.

6. Punitive Damages

Punitive damages may also be sought if it can be proven that gross negligence or intentional misconduct led to the death of the victim.

These types of awards serve as punishment for particularly egregious behavior on behalf of those responsible for causing harm and are meant to deter future wrongdoing by setting an example with large fines or jail time if necessary.

7. Statute of Limitations

Statutes of limitations apply in all types of civil cases including wrongful death claims.

These statutes dictate how long after an incident has occurred until legal action may no longer be taken against those responsible for causing harm. In this case, leading up to someone’s untimely demise.

8. Witness Testimony

Witness testimony from people who were present at the time when events leading up to someone’s passing unfolded can provide invaluable insight into what happened during that period.

This type of evidence often plays a large role in determining liability when it comes to civil lawsuits like those associated with wrongful deaths.

9. Physical Evidence

The availability and condition of physical evidence such as photographs or videos from surveillance cameras can help support claims made in court regarding liability.

These pieces of evidence play an integral part in establishing fault when individuals have been wrongfully killed due to another party’s negligence or recklessness.

10. Expert Testimony

Finally, expert testimony from experts such as doctors who specialize in certain areas related to injury or death may need to be provided in order to establish certain facts about how a particular incident occurred.

This sort of testimony will often tip decisions made by juries towards finding defendants guilty or innocent when it comes down to deciding on which side should bear responsibility for any harm caused by them during a trial involving wrongful deaths.

When Do Wrongful Death Claims Apply

Now we will explore three cases where wrongful death claims apply.

Medical Malpractice

When a medical professional fails to provide a standard of care that is expected in their profession, resulting in injury or death, it may be possible for a wrongful death claim to be brought against them.

For example, if a doctor misdiagnoses an illness and prescribes the wrong medication, which results in the patient’s death, there may be grounds for a wrongful death claim.

Car Accidents

If someone dies as a result of another driver’s negligent or reckless behavior behind the wheel, it is possible for their family members to bring forward a wrongful death claim against the responsible driver.

This applies even if the driver was not criminally charged with any wrongdoing; civil court claims have different standards than criminal court charges.

Product Liability

In some cases, a company may be held liable for selling faulty products which cause injury or death to customers. Examples include defective tires on vehicles or malfunctioning medical devices used during surgery.

In these cases, family members of those who were injured or killed can bring forward a wrongful death claim against the liable company.

Types of Damages Available in Wrongful Death Cases

The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate those who have suffered losses due to the death of their loved one. As such, damages awarded in these cases may include both economic and non-economic losses.

Economic losses can include funeral expenses, medical bills incurred prior to the death, and lost income that would have been earned by the deceased.

Non-economic losses may include pain and suffering endured by the deceased prior to their passing, as well as emotional distress suffered by surviving family members as a result of their loss.

In some cases, punitive damages may also be available if it can be proven that the defendant’s behavior was egregiously negligent or intentional.

Punitive damages are designed to punish defendants for particularly egregious acts and deter others from engaging in similar behavior.

Punitive damages are typically awarded only after other forms of compensation have been exhausted and are subject to caps depending on where the case is filed.

What to Do If You Believe You Have a Case

If you believe that your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, it is important that you contact an experienced wrongful death attorney in El Centro as soon as possible.

An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and guide you through the process of filing a lawsuit against those responsible for your loved one’s passing.

It is also important to note that there are statutes of limitations that dictate how long parties have to file claims following an incident involving wrongful death. Failure to file within this allotted time frame could mean forfeiting your right to seek justice for your loss.

Is It Hard to Prove Wrongful Death?

You must first demonstrate that the death was caused by the negligence or intentional act of another if you want to prove wrongful death.

This can be a difficult burden to meet, as it requires proving not only that the death was caused by the defendant’s actions, but also that those actions were unreasonable or unnecessary.

Additionally, the plaintiff must show that the victim would not have died if not for the defendant’s actions. In other words, it is not enough to show that the death was caused by the defendant’s actions. It must also be shown that those actions were the direct cause of the death.

This can be a difficult standard to meet, particularly in cases where there are multiple possible causes of death. As a result, it is important to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney who can help you gather the evidence necessary to prove your case.


Considering all the elements listed above before pursuing or declining a wrongful death suit is critical if you want your case handled properly and efficiently which you do!

If you have questions about taking legal action following someone’s untimely demise due to another party’s negligence or recklessness then consulting with an experienced wrongful death attorney in El Centro specializing in this particular area would definitely help you make sure your rights are protected throughout every step along your journey towards justice!

One thought on “Wrongful Death Claims: 10 Crucial Elements to Consider

  1. My mom was on hospice and the facility prescribed Fentanyl patches for her I did not know it may contribute to her death. Please let me know if a class action or tort can be filed?

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