How to Build a Strong Wrongful Death Case

Losing a loved one suddenly is shocking and traumatic, causing terrible grief and anguish for close family members left behind. The distress is almost unbearable when loved ones learn that their family member’s loss was preventable if only someone else hadn’t been careless, reckless, or violent. All deaths feel wrong to surviving loved ones, but civil courts in Texas consider a wrongful death as one that directly results from another party’s actions or negligence.

Close family members can recover compensation for their losses such as lost income from a provider, funeral expenses, and compensation for their grief through a wrongful death case. But what evidence is required to build a strong case for compensation after a loved one’s wrongful death?

Collect Evidence After the Death

It’s difficult to keep a cool head during the shock and grief that strikes family members immediately after a loved one’s death, but it’s critical to preserve evidence in the case during the aftermath of the accident, incident, or injury that caused their death. During the days after a loved one’s wrongful death, do the following:

  • Document the scene of the accident or injury with photos using a cell phone camera if possible
  • Save all available evidence, including your loved one’s clothing
  • Ask for a copy of your deceased family member’s most recent medical exam or physical from their doctor
  • Obtain a copy of the medical examiner’s report or autopsy findings
  • Obtain a copy of the police report if the cause of death was a criminal act or traffic accident
  • Save receipts for emergency medical bills, funeral expenses, burial costs, and related expenses
  • Gather documents proving your loved one’s income and the benefits they provided the family before they died
  • Contact an experienced Texas wrongful death lawyer to help you with your claim

Typically, your Austin wrongful death lawyer will document the evidence and make a compelling case to present to the appropriate insurance company, For instance, a reckless driver’s auto insurance policy or a manufacturer’s product liability insurance after a defective product injury. If the insurer doesn’t offer an ample settlement, the case may go to court in a wrongful death lawsuit.

How Does an Attorney Build a Strong Case for Wrongful Death in Court?

When a wrongful death claim goes to court, it’s typically because the insurance company of the at-fault party disputes the claim or undervalues the amount of damages. In this case, your attorney may use evidence such as eyewitness testimony proving how the death occurred and the negligent or wrongful action that caused it. Evidence may also include expert witness testimony showing the jury how the injury occurred in layman’s terms. This is especially important in complex cases like medical malpractice or a defective product injury requiring experts in the field to help the jury understand the specialized knowledge of the case so they can make an informed decision.

To build a compelling case for wrongful death compensation, the attorney for the plaintiff must demonstrate the following:

  • That the at-fault party owed a duty of care to the decedent, such as a driver’s duty to follow traffic laws or a doctor’s duty to treat a patient at the medical industry-accepted standard of care
  • That they breached this duty through an act of negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing
  • That the breach of duty directly caused the death
  • The decedent’s family members suffered significant economic damages from the loss, as well as grief and anguish

If the evidence proves the above points of liability for wrongful death, a jury is very likely to award the surviving family members compensation for their losses. While a successful wrongful death case doesn’t bring the loved one back, it relieves financial hardship caused by the death so the surviving family members can focus on saying goodbye and moving forward from their grief with a sense of justice. Speak to a personal injury attorney in Austin today to learn more.