Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyers: Proving Fault in a Wrongful Death ClaimJanuary 30, 2016
When a person in killed as a result of another person’s negligent act, the survivors of the victims may file a wrongful death claim as part of a civil lawsuit. State legislators created the wrongful death and survivor statutes in order to provide the family with financial support, help with funeral expenses, as well as other damages.
Regardless of whether a plaintiff is seeking damages in a wrongful death case or a negligence case, he or she much prove the same factors, which include the following:
- Proving Duty A defendant is liable for negligence if the defendant owed the deceased a duty of “due care,” which essentially means the defendant had a duty to either keep the deceased safe and/or avoid any action that would be harmful to another person. In a wrongful death case, a judge will determine whether the defendant owed a duty of due care. A judge will consider the following factors in coming to a decision:
– Public policy consequences of finding a duty in all similar cases
– If the harm caused was predictable
– Level of certainty that harm occurred
– How closely connected the defendant’s act was to the resulting harm
– The defendant’s moral blame
- Proving Breach of Duty If a duty is confirmed, the plaintiff must prove that there was a breach of duty. For example, if the defendant was driving negligently, which resulted in a the deceased’s death, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant was not paying attention to the road when the accident occurred, which was a breach in the duty of due care. Like other civil cases, the plaintiff must convince the jury that the facts are more than 50% likely to be true.
- Proving Causation
The plaintiff must prove that what caused the deceased’s harm was the breach of duty. For example, the plaintiff must be able to prove that the defendant’s car, not another vehicle, was the one that struck the plaintiff. If the defendant’s car showed up after another car already struck and killed the victim, it is unlikely that the jury will find the defendant guilty of breach of duty.
- Proving DamagesThe plaintiff must also prove that the deceased suffered from injuries. If breach of duty and causation exist, damages are presumed in a wrongful death case since the person was killed.
Maryland Wrongful Death Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Clients in Wrongful Death Litigation Matters
The unexpected loss of a loved one is a traumatic event, particularly when it was the result of another person’s negligence. In addition to the emotional upheaval, a family’s financial future can be jeopardized. At LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton, our Maryland wrongful death lawyers provide aggressive, knowlegable legal representation. We will not stop fighting until you receive the financial compensation you deserve. For a complementary consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie and Towson, allowing us to represent injured accident victims and their families throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood and Elkridge.