Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

Posted By Power Rogers & Smith, P.C. || Apr 28, 2016

Family at a cemeteryAlthough legal matters may be the last thing on your mind after the loss of a loved one, if the death was caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to know what options you have. A number of factors must be considered in wrongful death claims. At Power Rogers & Smith, L.L.P., our Chicago wrongful death attorneys understand the elements of a wrongful death claim. We know what it takes to prove your case in court.

If you lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, you should understand these elements as well.

Duty of Defendant to Decedent

One of the first things that must be shown in a wrongful death claim is that the defendant had a duty to the decedent. A duty means that the defendant stood in such a relationship to the plaintiff that they were required to take reasonable precautions to ensure the decedent’s safety. In a medical negligence context, this means that the doctor or other medical professional had a responsibility to provide reasonable care to the patient, or in the context of an automobile collision that the driver was operating his/her vehicle in a reasonably safe manner.

Breach of Duty

Next, in order to maintain a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must show a breach of duty. A breach of duty refers to the any actions that violated the duty the Defendant had to the Decedent. In some instances, this could mean a driver breaking the law and driving while intoxicated. Other situations include an anesthesiologist administering too much anesthesia. In each case, the parties have a duty to act reasonably and within the applicable standard or care. When they fail to do this, a breach the duty occurs.

The Breach Caused the Death

Thirdly, in order to prove a wrongful death claim, a Plaintiff must show that the death was a direct result of the breach of duty. If the breach of duty results in death or a life-threatening condition, this may be enough for you to file a wrongful death claim.

Damages Affecting Next of Kin

Finally, it must be shown that the death affected the decedent’s next of kin, such as a surviving spouse or children who relied on their family member. In those cases, the surviving family members may be able to seek compensation for lost wages, lost consortium, medical expenses, funeral costs, and more.

If someone you love has been killed as a result of a negligent action, call our Chicago wrongful death lawyers. Our team is ready to help you.

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Categories: Wrongful Death

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