When negligent conduct causes death, the survivors may sue for “wrongful death.” These are complex cases that usually require the involvement of the probate court where an executor or administrator (if there is no will) represents the estate of the decedent, and the superior court where the liability case is resolved.
There are two essential elements of such claims: (1) negligence and (2) death resulting from the negligence. To prove the first element, we have to be able to prove in a court of law to the satisfaction of a judge and jury that the party we are suing (the defendant) acted unreasonably.
We see wrongful death cases most often in medical malpractice cases, and automobile crashes. In a medical malpractice case that means we need testimony from an expert that proves the defendant provided substandard care. In an automobile crash case, we need to be able to prove that the other driver was negligent. In some cases there is a significant issue of what caused the death, so an autopsy that helps explains the cause can be crucial. If you suspect your loved one’s death was caused by wrongful conduct, you should request an autopsy. Damages in these cases are calculated differently than in injury cases, and often require the testimony of an economist.
Contact The Nixon Law Firm, PLLC
If you believe your loved one died as the result of a negligent or careless act of another, we can help. Call us at 603-483-3325 or fill out our online contact form to set up an initial consultation to discuss your situation.