A wrongful death is a traumatic and life altering event for any family. A wrongful death that can result in a claim can come about in many ways. Being the victim of a crime, losing a life as a result of medical malpractice or dying as a result of an accident are some examples when a wrongful death claim may be applicable. “The key to any wrongful death lawsuit is that you must be able to prove the death was caused by the negligence or the wrongful act of another person. If that is the case, the estate or the family of the deceased has a right to be compensated for their losses,” says Plainfield wrongful death lawyer Lawrence LeBrocq.
That compensation can take many forms, including:
- Any pain and suffering incurred by the victim before they passed away
- Reimbursement for related medical costs
- Loss of future income
- Loss of care, guidance, nurturing, love and companionship the deceased would have provided
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of potential inheritance
To be successful in a claim, it must be proven that a defendant breached their duty to the plaintiff. For example, if a person dies under a doctor’s care, it must be proven that the doctor did not take adequate measures to keep the plaintiff alive. In other words, the doctor was negligent in their care. After breach of duty is proven, the plaintiff must prove that the breach of care actually caused harm to the defendant.
This is known as causation. If a patient is already near death and takes a turn for the worst, it might be difficult to prove that the doctor’s actions were responsible for the patient’s death. However, if causation is proven, then the plaintiff must prove the defendant suffered damages. If a patient is a young man in the prime of his earning years and dies through a doctor’s neglect, the amount awarded will be substantially different than if the patient was 90 years old and in failing health when he passed away.
Garces, Grabler & LeBrocq is a full service New Jersey law firm with offices in Elizabeth, Freehold, Hackensack, Newark, New Brunswick, Perth Amboy, Plainfield and Trenton.