One of the saddest times of your life is when you lose a loved one. If (s)he died as the result of someone’s negligence or wrongdoing, this makes things even more difficult for you. Not only must you deal with your grief, you must also deal with your feelings of anger that someone took your loved one away from you.
Nothing will ever bring your loved one back, but you may experience closure and a sense of justice if you bring a wrongful death suit against the person responsible for your loved one’s death. Keep in mind that wrongful death suits represent civil actions, not criminal ones. Therefore, even if your loved one died as the result of someone’s allegedly criminal action but the jury acquits him or her, you can still sue him or her for wrongful death. In addition, you will have to sustain only a preponderance of the evidence burden of proof, not a beyond a reasonable doubt one.
Wrongful death proof
FindLaw explains that you must prove the following in a wrongful death suit:
- That the person(s) you are suing owed a duty of care to your deceased loved one
- That they failed to live up to this duty of care and in fact breached it
- That your loved one died as a result of their breach
- That their breach constituted the proximate cause of death of your loved one
- That you yourself sustained monetary damages because of your loved one’s wrongful death
Wrongful death damages
When you win your wrongful death suit, you can expect to receive compensation from the defendant(s) for the following:
- Your loved one’s medical expenses
- His or her funeral expenses
- Your loss of his or her love, affection and companionship
- Your loss of his or her financial support
- Your loss of his or her guidance, counsel, advice, etc.
Naturally, a monetary award cannot make up for the loss of your loved one, but unfortunately, that is the only thing a civil judgment can give you. The defendant(s) will not go to jail, but they will still have to pay for causing your loved one’s wrongful death.