How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil matter that alleges someone negligently caused the death of another. The primary objective is to obtain compensation for heirs through the estate’s personal representative. Compensation includes burial or cremation costs, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and lost future earnings.
Money will never undo the loss of a family member. However, it will help compensate you for damages and potentially make the other party change his or her conduct in the future. If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, contact a wrongful death attorney for Española, New Mexico. We will treat you with compassion and respect as we work hard to prove your case.
In this post, I help you understand how an attorney proves wrongful death and what you can do to move forward in finding out more information. What I present below is general advice. Always contact an Española wrongful death attorney for specific legal advice.
The Four Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
For your attorney to prove a wrongful death case, he or she must prove that the negligent party’s actions caused your family member’s death. Under NMSA § 41-2-1 (2019), you can file a wrongful death claim, whether the action was willful, negligent, or through default.
To establish that you have a viable case, it must meet four (4) elements, including:
- Duty of care: A duty of care signifies that the defendant had a duty to act responsibly towards your family member. As an example, drivers owe each other a duty of care by operating a motor vehicle per the law.
- Breach of duty: If the defendant does not meet this responsibility, then he or she is “in breach” of duty. For instance, a store owner did not place a caution sign in order to alert shoppers that the floor was still wet from mopping.
- Causation: Your attorney must also prove that your family member’s death was caused by the defendant’s breach in his or her duty of care.
- Damages: The final element of a wrongful death case is damages. Damages include, compensation for pain and suffering, medical expenses between the time of injury and death, the present value of lost wages and future household services, the value of lost guidance and counseling to children and funeral expenses.
Personal injury matters, like wrongful death cases, are challenging to prove, especially when you are mourning the loss of a loved one. Hire an attorney to help you navigate the complexities of your case while representing it to the insurance company on your behalf. We will always treat you with compassion and respect as we help navigate the process and fight for what your family deserves.
Evidence for Proving Wrongful Death
The most challenging aspect is proving that your loved one’s death would not have happened unless the defendant acted negligently or wrongfully. There are various forms of admissible evidence we preserve and analyze as it comes into our office.
Evidence that I might use to prove your case includes:
- Eyewitness statements
- Expert testimony and opinion
- Tax or financial statements
- Accident and police reports
- Video and photo evidence
- Medical reports and notes
- Driving logs and records
- Personal journals
- Government documents
- And more
In addition to preserving evidence, you must also protect the facts of your case. When you hire an attorney, he or she will handle the communications for you so that innocuous comments or statements do not turn into something that can jeopardize it.
Let’s take a look at common mistakes to avoid when facing a wrongful death case in New Mexico.
Avoid Jeopardizing Your Wrongful Death Case
There is no question that life is chaotic after the death of a family member. One of the most practical ways to make things less complicated starts by understanding how you may inadvertently jeopardize your wrongful death case.
Here are a few examples:
- Not providing timely notice
- Issuing public statements without legal counsel
- Missing the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case
- Communicating with the defendant, opposing counsel, or the insurer
- Not evaluating a settlement offer
- Not hiring a New Mexico wrongful death attorney
If your family member passed away due to another’s negligence, file a wrongful death case in New Mexico to recuperate your financial and emotional losses while holding liable parties accountable for their actions.
For more information about tactics that insurance companies use to mitigate their liability, check out this article.
Free Consultation with an Española Wrongful Death Attorney for Help
You should never have to face this part of life alone. An experienced wrongful death attorney for Española, like myself, will stand by your side throughout the entire process.