What Do You Need to Prove in a Wrongful Death Claim?

A loved one’s sudden death is devastating news for the whole family. Indeed it’s even more difficult to accept if you’re loved one died because of someone else’s negligence. You and your family will have to deal with medical expenses and other overheads.  The least you can do is to recover losses and damages to cover all expenses from medical treatment to burial. Eligible heirs may file a civil claim to seek financial compensation from the defendant or liable party. This is a complex process and you will require the help of an experienced Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer to get a fair settlement.

Los Angeles wrongful death lawyer

What is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to another person’s negligence or intentional act. The associated lawsuit is a civil action isolated from any criminal charges. The standard of proof in a civil case is lower than in a murder case. 

What Proof Do You Need to Provide When Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?

Generally, negligence is the customary basis for a wrongful death case in California. Negligence is the incompetence to act in a rational manner or based on the standard of care, resulting in harm or injury to another individual. To demonstrate that wrongful death did occur, including the defendant’s liability, you and your hired expert Los Angeles wrongful death attorney need to establish the four elements of negligence:


The liable party must have owed the deceased victim a legal duty of care. It’s a responsibility to respond in a way that a sensible and logical individual would in a similar circumstance. Drivers in California are responsible for driving their vehicles safely to avoid accidents and injuries. 


A breach of duty occurs when the defendant acts carelessly, resulting in injuries, losses, or even death. It refers to any deeds or exclusion that a decent party most likely won’t have committed. Moreover, it’s a heedless laxness toward others’ safety and a malevolent purport to harm.


This means that the liable party’s breach of duty of care caused or largely contributed to the deceased’s injury that caused his death. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the deadly injury wouldn’t have happened if not for the defendant’s breach of duty. 


This refers to the losses the surviving family suffers due to the defendant’s wrongful behavior or negligence. Damages in a wrongful death claim generally pertain to lost wages, loss of consortium, and funeral and burial expenses. 

It’s not a requirement to demonstrate that the liable party in your wrongful death lawsuit intended to murder your loved one. Likewise, it’s also not stringent that the defendant meant to harm the departed victim. When it comes to a civil justice system, it’s adequate to hold the defendant accountable if you can prove his negligence caused the victim’s fatal injury resulting in death.

Burden of Proof

In a wrongful death claim, it’s the surviving family’s burden to verify the case. The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence which persuades the court that the defendant is more possible than not responsible for the victim’s death (responsibility with at least 50% probability). 

It’s a lesser burden of proof compared to proof beyond a reasonable doubt. This is the evidentiary standard that needs to be fulfilled during a criminal case. But, it can still be hard to collect sufficient evidence to back your case without the help of an experienced Los Angeles lawyer.

Eligible People to File Wrongful Death Claim

Since the deceased victim cannot file a claim for himself, the surviving family will do it on his or her behalf instead. It includes:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Immediate family members (parents and siblings) 
  • Children (legal and stepchildren)

They have two years to file a wrongful death claim from the date of the victim’s death. The sooner as the better while pieces of evidence are still intact and existing. Besides, filing a claim beyond the allowed timeframe loses the right to have a claim.

Problem with Wrongful Death Claim? Big Ben Lawyers is Here to Help

Losing a loved one is traumatic, especially if it’s due to someone else’s recklessness or deliberate act. You and the surviving family members are eligible to file legal action against the defendant. In case you encounter any problems, schedule a free consultation with Big Ben Lawyers.

Our Los Angeles wrongful death attorney has a background and interest in Medicine. It will help establish a strong case against the defendant. We’ll negotiate with the insurance company on your behalf, maximize your compensation, and ensure that you’ll get a fair settlement. 

Contact us today for a free evaluation of your case. We work on a contingency fee basis so you can focus on your speedy recovery. You’ll have peace of mind and count on us that we’ll handle your case efficiently.  

Call (818) 423-4878 today and speak with our compassionate and knowledgeable wrongful death lawyers. Let’s discuss your case at no cost.

Big Ben Lawyers
144 N Glendale Ave.
Suite 250
Glendale, CA 91206


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