A Wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit because the damages the Plaintiff is seeking are strictly monetary. Criminal cases result in a type of punishment such as a fine or imprisonment. The monetary damages awarded must obtained through a civil lawsuit.
The Plaintiff is the person who is bringing the civil lawsuit and is typically a close family member of the deceased. The Defendant it the person the lawsuit is being brought against.
When the lawsuit is filed, the Plaintiff must prove various elements of a wrongful death claim before any damages can be awarded.
- Duty of Care: The Plaintiff is required to prove that the Defendant had an obligation to obey a duty of care to the deceased person.
- Breach of Duty of Care: The Plaintiff must prove that the Defendant breached the duty of care and failed to obey the rules.
- Causation: The Plaintiff must also show the Defendant’s action directly caused the wrongful death.
Also while providing answers to the three elements above, the Plaintiff must meet the “burden of proof”. A Burden of Proof is to show the elements of negligence by a preponderance of the evidence. The credibility of the Plaintiff’s evidence must meet the correct measurement to recover damages.