Losing a loved one isn’t easy, especially if it was due to an accident from someone else’s reckless or negligent behavior. When that occurs, it is considered a wrongful death and you have the right to make the liable party pay.
But before you can get compensation for a wrongful death claim, you will need to prove that the defendant is responsible for the accident. This requires several steps, and the process of a wrongful death case can be complex. That’s why you need a reliable lawyer on your side.
Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney serves the Charleston area and knows how to prove a wrongful death case. Our team carefully pieces together the evidence that establishes at-fault parties. Call us at 843-701-8029 to request a review of your case.
What Do You Need to Prove in a Wrongful Death Case?
To prove a wrongful death, you will need to show the following:
- A duty of care existed: The first thing you will need to do is establish that a duty of care existed. For example, drivers on the road owe each other a duty of care to drive safely to minimize the risk of accidents.
- The duty of care was breached: Next you will have to show the duty of care was breached. So in the case of a car accident, you will have to prove that the driver did something to put the victim in danger on the road such as speeding or running a traffic light.
- That the breach resulted in the injury: You will need to show that the person’s reckless or negligent behavior was the direct cause of the accident.
- That you suffered losses as a result of the accident: A wrongful death lawsuit is usually brought by the victim’s family members. The family members will have to show that the victim’s death resulted in their economic or non-economic losses.
What is the Burden of Proof in a Wrongful Death Case?
The burden of proof is the obligation to prove one’s claim. It typically requires gathering evidence that establishes the defendant is guilty.
The evidence is then examined, and the jury decides if the party is guilty. In most states, the defendant will be found guilty if it’s more likely than not that they are guilty. In other words, if the defendant is found to be 51% or more responsible for the accident, they are likely to owe damages.
However, South Carolina is one of the few states that demands that the defendant is 100% at-fault before they are found guilty.
Your Charleston wrongful death attorney will provide evidence that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
What is the Difference Between a Civil and Criminal Wrongful Death Case?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, a person may be convicted on both criminal and civil charges. Civil charges allow the victim’s family to get compensation for damages. Criminal charges are put in place to specifically punish the victim.
Some key differences between a civil and criminal case include the following:
- A criminal case involves a criminal allegation, while a civil case is based on a civil wrongdoing. A criminal court will assess whether the person is guilty of criminal charges. A civil court will determine if the defendant owes the victim damages which typically include medical expenses, emotional pain and suffering, and financial losses.
- Different parties are responsible for bringing civil and criminal cases. A state, federal attorney, or prosecutor will be the one to file the paperwork in a criminal case. The victim may be aware that the defendant committed a crime, but it will be up to the prosecutor to decide if they want to pursue it on a criminal level.
- There is a greater burden of proof in a criminal case. Before convicting or releasing someone in a criminal case, the jury will want to be sure that the defendant is guilty or innocent. This will require a greater burden of proof.
Your Charleston Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You Get the Compensation You Need
A wrongful death is not easy to deal with. Our reliable Charleston wrongful death attorney will take the stress off your shoulders. Trey Harrell Auto Accident and Personal Injury Attorney will work hard to establish the defendant is liable for your loved one’s wrongful death.
Our Charleston-area law firm approaches every wrongful death case with personalized care. We are passionate about holding negligent parties accountable for their deadly actions. You have our promise we’ll stop at nothing to pursue a favorable outcome for your claim.
Act immediately to start your wrongful death case. Don’t delay, call Trey.