A plaintiff that hopes to show a defendant’s liability for a wrongful death must offer proof of the fact that the same defendant had been negligent, during the moments that preceded the fatal accident.
A proof of negligence must contain evidence of 4 different elements.
A court would not accept a wrongful death lawsuit, if the plaintiff could not provide proof for the existence of those 4 elements.
What are those 4 elements?
Duty of care: A duty to keep the decedent safe; Judges normally decide whether or not the defendant had a duty of care.
A breach of duty: Sometimes that breach takes to form of a careless action. At other times, it might be shown that the defendant had been neglectful, and had failed to carry out an anticipated action.
Causation: Proof that the defendant’s breach caused injurious harm to the plaintiff.
In order for the court to accept that proof, it must include evidence of proximity between the defendant’s actions and the events that caused the plaintiff’s injury. In addition, those with a reasonable frame of mind should have foreseen the harmful results of the defendant’s actions.
The existence of measurable damages: Usually, the death of the decedent, the person that has suffered a fatal injury, can qualify as evidence of measurable damages, as per Accident Lawyer in Cambridge.
How does evidence for a charge of wrongful death differ from what might be used to point the finger at a murderer?
At a criminal trial for someone that has, allegedly, committed murder, the District Attorney must establish proof of the presented allegations. Moreover, the information shown to the jury should convince the jury that the DA’ allegations have been proved beyond a shadow of a doubt.
That same level of certainty does not exist for any evidence that might be introduced by the plaintiff’s legal team. Their evidence must show only that the events proposed by the DA were, more likely than not, the ones that did take place on the day of the accident.
How are jurors supposed to judge whether or not something was more likely than not true? Each of them is supposed to study the plausibility of a given statement, one that was made from the witness stand. In other words, does the offered testimony make sense; does it seem logical?
If a juror could not give a “yes” answer to those 2 questions, then he or she would have reason to doubt the veracity of the presented evidence.
Depending on the extent of the doubt in any juror’s mind, it might provide one or more jurors with a reason for feeling that the offered testimony was not something that was more likely than not true.