According to the CDC, there were nearly 225,000 unintentional injury deaths that occurred in the United States in 2021. The number of visits to the emergency room for unintentional injuries amounted to roughly 25.5 million the same year.
If someone in your family has died due to someone else’s actions, then you have the right to pursue wrongful death compensation. Your compensation and the difficulty of proving your claim will depend on the circumstances and how it has affected your family.
Here are four factors that can affect your chances of winning a wrongful death suit.
1. Proof of Negligence or Intent
One of the most important aspects of a wrongful death claim is whether or not you can prove that an individual was negligent or committed any act intentionally. In other words, did the fatal incident happen because of the fault of another person? Or was it a completely unavoidable and accidental event?
How you approach proving negligence is all about the evidence you collect.
Gather statements from wrongful death witnesses. Even if they don’t believe it was due to negligence, their point of view could help your claim.
If the person died in a car accident, document the scene with photos, if available, video from nearby security cameras. In many cases, this evidence can help pinpoint who was to blame. You may also want to know things like what street signs are visible, what color the stoplight was on, and if the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Next, you’ll need to determine the cause of death. This factor could make or break your case, and it could also affect how much compensation you win in the end.
For example, the ceiling at a grocery store collapses on your spouse and causes their death. Your immediate reaction may be to sue the store for failure to assess and repair their roofing as they should.
The only problem is that the fault may not lie at the store’s feet but with the building’s contractor. It could be that they put in shoddy ceiling tiles or materials. Or maybe the roofer failed to see water damage that resulted in the ceiling collapsing.
There’s also the possibility that the person who died had preexisting health conditions that were exacerbated by the event. In that case, the opposition could reason that their untreated condition caused their death. They may say that while the ceiling collapse was due to negligence, the death was circumstantial.
3. Quality of Evidence
The quality of your evidence will affect whether or not it makes an impact on your case. Poor-quality evidence may be submittable, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll affect the outcome.
Security camera footage is often considered one of the best kinds of evidence you can present in court. However, that’s assuming it has captured things like the event in question and the identities of people involved.
If a car accident happens off camera, then it doesn’t matter if it captures the license plate numbers of vehicles that then move into the frame. All that does is verify who was involved. It does not prove causation or guilt.
The same applies to nursing home abuse cases. If you can’t provide evidence that the nurses were negligent in their care, then their legal team could easily attribute the death to natural causes.
4. Legal Representation
A wrongful death lawyer is an essential part of pursuing wrongful death compensation. As with any legal case, you’ll want an expert who has years of experience in the area and knows how to approach it.
At the very least, your legal representation can help you gather all the necessary evidence you need and let you know what will happen throughout the process. A quality, experienced attorney can significantly enhance the value of your case.
Make sure to call your attorney as soon as possible. You’ll want to start gathering your evidence and submit your claim immediately. Waiting too long may make your case seem less authentic and put you at risk of denial.
You also need to avoid the wrongful death statute of limitations. In Georgia, you must file a wrongful death claim within two years of the deceased’s death. After two years, you cannot bring a lawsuit and any claim for damages will be denied.
Improve Your Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit
What are your chances of winning a wrongful death suit? If you have plenty of evidence and legal representation, your chances are fairly good. It also helps if you pursue your claim as soon as possible and can prove negligence.
David Bell Law Firm is here to help with your claims, whether they be due to wrongful death, nursing home abuse, or more. We offer our services to victims in the Augusta, Georgia area. Contact us to learn more and tell us about your situation.