Any time that a Kentucky family loses a loved one from a preventable cause, the resulting financial and emotional damages can create a seemingly impossible situation to deal with. While still trying to grieve a loved one’s death, families are forced to deal with unexpected funeral and burial costs, medical expenses, lost financial support, and so much more.
But while you might know that you and your loved ones have the legal right to hold the at-fault party responsible for the actions that contributed to your family member’s death, learning how to navigate the civil legal system during this already difficult period of time can be difficult—if not impossible.
At the Law Office of Todd W. Burris, we don’t believe that any person should have to face the wrongful death of a loved one alone. We know how to prove fault in a wrongful death claim, and are ready to put our years of experience and knowledge to work for you. Our personal injury law office provides free consultations to families who believe their loved ones’ deaths were the result of the negligent, reckless, or careless actions of others.
Proving Fault in a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim may be brought when, had a person survived the accident or incident that caused their fatal injuries, they would have been entitled to compensation in a personal injury claim. The compensation that is secured through this type of legal action can be used by their surviving family members to address a wide variety of economic and non-economic damages, including:
- Loss of financial support
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship
Before you can recover compensation for the damages that you and your family have suffered, you must first be able to prove fault.
Unlike in criminal cases, you do not need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that another person’s or entity’s negligence caused your loved one’s death. Instead, you need only have a preponderance of the evidence that it is more likely than not that the plaintiff’s actions contributed to their death.
However, it is still important to collect as much relevant evidence as possible. Insurance companies (the party responsible for paying damages in most wrongful death claims) are not well-known for playing nice. While filing your wrongful death case, you might expect the insurer to push back against what you know to be true, trying to contradict your statements and purposely misconstruing your words.
The more evidence you have, the less likely it is that the insurance company can dispute liability.
While the exact evidence you will need to prove fault will depend on the unique factors of your case, the following list includes some most common sources of evidence in wrongful death cases:
- Cell phone records
- Security footage
- Dashcam footage
- Medical records
- Accident reconstructionist testimony
- Vehicle maintenance records
- Hiring records
You should work closely with your attorney to determine what types of evidence might best support your claim.
Identifying the At-Fault Party
Answering the question, “Who was at fault for my loved one’s death?” can be deceptively complex. A wrongful death claim involving a car accident could potentially involve more than just the driver who caused the accident, such as the driver’s employer, other motorists, or a vehicle parts manufacturer.
At the Law Office of Todd W. Burris, we have the skill and legal background needed to investigate wrongful death claims with a high degree of accuracy, identifying all at-fault parties and the role they played.
Establishing a Duty of Care
We owe a duty of care to other people in a variety of situations. For example, property owners have a legal responsibility to maintain safe premises that are reasonably free from harm that may injure potential visitors. As drivers, we are expected to follow the rules of the road and to drive in a way that will not cause an accident.
As a critical component of any successful wrongful death claim, you must:
- Establish a duty of care between the liable party and the victim
- Demonstrate how the liable party violated that duty of care
- Demonstrate how the violation of the duty of care caused the victim’s death
- Prove that surviving family members suffered damages as a result
As your legal representation, the Law Office of Todd W. Burris can collect the necessary evidence to demonstrate that your loved one was owed a duty of care by the liable party, and how that duty of care was violated.
How Does a Lawyer Help Prove Fault in a Wrongful Death Claim?
When you choose to work with a lawyer, you are sending a message to the insurance company that you mean business. You know that your loved one would still be with you if it were not for the negligent actions of another, and you also know that your family is entitled to damages for what you’ve been through.
An experienced attorney can:
- Investigate your claim
- Correctly identify all at-fault parties
- Review relevant evidence
- Deal with the insurance company on your behalf
- Negotiate for maximum compensation
At the Law Office of Todd W. Burris, we always strive to settle wrongful death cases outside of court whenever possible. However, we are not afraid to go to court when an insurance company refuses to agree to a full and fair settlement.
Help Can Be Found at the Law Office of Todd W. Burris
We understand just how dark this period of time in your life may feel, and we hope to serve as a beacon of hope as you pursue a sense of justice for your loved one’s death.
When you contact the Law Office of Todd W. Burris, you’ll know that your case is a priority. We don’t charge for initial consultations with injury victims or families who have suffered a recent loss. Not only is our first meeting always free, but we also take many cases on a contingency fee basis, which allows us to provide our unrivaled legal services without taking any upfront payments.
If you want to learn more about how to prove fault in a wrongful death claim or are ready to take a step toward justice, please contact our Lexington office to schedule your free consultation. This meeting does not create an obligation to continue working with our law firm.