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Wrongful death lawsuits require proof of these four elements

Even though death is a subject most people prefer to avoid, circumstances may require them to deal with it. Unfortunately, not all deaths occur naturally, and in cases in which a loved one's death follows another party's reckless, careless or negligent actions, financial relief may be pursued. A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed in a New York civil court, and after proving specific elements, the judge might enter a monetary judgment.

According to the definitions of the law, the surviving family members of the deceased individual -- or their legal counsel -- must establish negligence in the actions or non-actions of the defendant. However, it will also be necessary to prove that the defendant owed a duty to the victim and that he or she breached that duty. An example is a car accident in which the defendant owed the duty to obey the rules of the road to avoid endangering the life of the deceased victim.

The next element to prove is causation, which is showing that the defendant's negligence was the cause of the death of the plaintiff's loved one. Following this, the plaintiff must present documented proof of damages that are quantifiable. These could include doctors' and hospital fees, other medical expenses, end-of-life costs, and pain and suffering before death. Also, future losses can be addressed such as loss of potential earning and income and more.

Only upon proving these four elements can the court determine liability and adjudicate the documented claims. Having to navigate such a lawsuit and gather the necessary evidence and information while also trying to cope with a loved one's death is naturally challenging. Many people in similar situations in New York seek the guidance and support of an experienced wrongful death attorney who can also handle the legal proceedings on their behalves.

Source:, "The 4 Elements Of A Wrongful Death Lawsuit", Accessed on Jan. 19, 2018

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