Losing someone you love is a tragic experience. That loss is even more traumatic when your family member dies because of someone else’s actions.
If your loved one died because of someone else’s conduct, you might have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
While no money can bring your family member back, a lawsuit can help hold the responsible parties accountable.
Understandably, you likely have no experience with these types of claims. So you are probably wondering, How do you prove wrongful death?
Successfully proving someone else is responsible for your family member’s death can be complex. Only certain surviving family members are eligible to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.
How to Prove Wrongful Death in Texas
Before eligible surviving family members can receive any compensation, they must prove the defendant is responsible for the victim’s death.
There are four main elements of negligence that must be proved in a wrongful death claim.
Duty of Care
The first element is the duty of care. When a defendant had a duty of care, that means they were legally obligated to act or refrain from acting in a certain way.
For example, all drivers owe each other a duty of care that requires them to follow all traffic laws and drive safely.
Medical providers owe their patients a duty of care that requires them to provide treatment in accordance with specific medical standards.
To show that someone was owed a duty of care in a medical malpractice case, you need to show a doctor-patient relationship existed.
Breach of Duty
The second element of negligence is the breach of duty. You must show the defendant acted intentionally, recklessly, or negligently in some way that violated their duty of care.
For example, someone who gets drunk at a bar and then drives themself home violates the duty of care by putting countless others at risk.
The third element in a successful wrongful death lawsuit is causation. You must show the defendant’s breach of duty led to your family member’s death.
This can be complicated to prove because sometimes a defendant breached their duty of care, but that breach may not have contributed to the victim’s death.
To be liable for wrongful death, the defendant must have both breached their duty of care, and that breach must have caused or contributed to the victim’s death.
You must prove your family suffered losses due to the victim’s death. Obviously, losing a family member is a tremendous emotional loss.
For a wrongful death lawsuit, the law requires you to show financial losses, such as funeral and burial expenses, loss of financial support, and loss of household services.
Damages in a wrongful death lawsuit differ from other personal injury claims. Wrongful death damages reimburse family members for their losses rather than reimbursing them for losses directly suffered by the victim.
The estate’s personal representative can file a separate survival action to recover damages the victim would’ve received had they lived.
Contact a Texas Wrongful Death Attorney
Successfully resolving a wrongful death lawsuit is complicated. It’s best to work with an experienced Texas wrongful death lawyer who can build a strong case. When you have questions about how do you prove wrongful death in Texas, Zimmerman Law Firm P.C. is here to help.
We have years of experience helping grieving Texas families hold at-fault parties accountable for the deaths of their loved ones.
We understand what’s at stake and the importance of pursuing justice for your loved one. Contact us online or by phone today to schedule a free consultation and learn how we can assist you.