No one ever wants to think about the possibility of a loved one dying due to the negligence of another person. Unfortunately, this is a very real possibility that many people have to face each year. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

A wrongful death claim is a legal claim that can be filed by the surviving family members of a person who has died due to another person’s negligence. This type of claim can be filed against an individual, a company, or even a government entity.

If successful, a wrongful death claim can help the surviving family members recover damages such as funeral and burial expenses, lost wages and benefits, and even pain and suffering.

Tip: You should hire a Massachusetts wrongful death lawyer to proceed with a case in the right way. 

Four Elements to Prove Negligence in a Wrongful Death Claim

If you are considering pursuing a wrongful death claim, you must be able to prove that the death was caused by the negligence of another party. This can be a difficult task, as it requires proving that the death would not have occurred but for the negligence of the other party. Additionally, you must be able to prove that the deceased would have had a chance to survive if not for the negligence. This is where a wrongful death attorney can help.

There are four elements to proving negligence in a wrongful death claim: duty, breach, causation, and damages.

  • Duty

The first step is to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased. This duty may be explicit, as in the case of a doctor-patient relationship, or it may be implicit, as in the case of a driver’s duty to other motorists on the road.

  • Breach

The second step is to show that the defendant breached their duty of care. This means that they failed to act in a way that a reasonable person would have in the same situation. For example, if a reasonable driver would have stopped at a red light, but the defendant ran the light and collided with the deceased, then the defendant has breached their duty of care.

  • Causation

The third step is to show that the defendant’s breach of duty was the cause of the deceased’s death. This can be difficult to prove, as there may be other factors that contributed to the death. For example, if the deceased was not wearing a seat-belt and was ejected from the vehicle, it may be difficult to prove that the defendant’s negligence was the cause of death.

  • Damages

The final step is to show that the death of the deceased resulted in damages. This may include the loss of income, the loss of companionship, or the funeral and burial expenses.

If you can prove all four of these elements, then you may have a successful wrongful death claim. It is important to note that the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, and that these cases can be complex. That is why it is important to consult with an experienced Massachusetts wrongful death lawyer who can help you navigate the legal process.

Need Help?

If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

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About the Author: James Swartz
Mr. Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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