CURCIO BLOG

What does a family need to prove in a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit generally requires surviving family members to show a responsible party’s carelessness or negligence. When your loved one died because of another individual’s mistake or failure in using reasonable care, you may file a legal action to recover.

Proving negligence requires showing the court that another individual made an error that led to the fatality. If an operator of a vehicle or other craft caused an accident while working for an employer, the company may also face liability for your loss.

Filing an action against the appropriate parties

The surviving wife of a well-known professional basketball player killed in a helicopter crash filed a wrongful death lawsuit against several parties. As reported by Sports Illustrated, her suit alleged negligence by two companies that owned the helicopter in addition to the deceased pilot’s estate.

The complaint claims that the pilot’s recklessness and carelessness in attempting to fly through thick fog resulted in the chopper’s crash. The suit claims the pilot should have first assessed the weather outlook and then terminated the flight when presented with dangerous conditions.

The pilot also allegedly failed to keep the helicopter at a safe distance away from the hillside into which he crashed. The suit claims vicarious liability by the pilot’s employer over his wrongful actions. Details from the National Transportation Safety Board’s investigation noted that neither of the chopper’s two engines failed.

Pursuing a jury trial instead of an insurance settlement

A company may aggressively attempt to settle a wrongful death through its insurance carrier. You may choose to instead pursue a jury trial. In addition to awarding damages for medical and unexpected burial expenses, a compassionate jury could determine a compensatory value for the loss of life, companionship and income for your surviving family.

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