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What must you prove in a wrongful death case?

If one of your close loved ones dies as the result of someone’s negligence in Texas, you can sue that person for wrongful death. Generally you must be the deceased’s surviving spouse, child, parent or sibling in order to bring such a suit.

FindLaw explans that you can also file a wrongful death suit if your loved one died as the result of someone’s wrongdoing. Furthermore, you can file it even if the person receives an acquittal in his or her criminal trial.

Elements of proof

You will need to prove the following in order to win your wrongful death suit:

  • That the defendant owed a duty of care to your deceased loved one
  • That the defendant breached his or her duty when (s)he did something or failed to do something
  • That the defendant’s breach constituted the proximate cause of your loved one’s death
  • That you suffered damages as a result of your loved one’s untimely death

Possible damages

You can recover your economic damages if you win your wrongful death lawsuit. These will include such things as the cost of your loved one’s medical treatment, funeral and burial. In other words economic damages represent the ones for which you know the precise amounts.

You can also, however, recover your noneconomic damages even though you cannot put a precise dollar amount on them. Noneconomic damages include your loss of your loved one’s love, companionship, support and other nontangible things.

Finally, you may be able to recover punitive damages if the jury believes the defendant’s behavior in causing your loved one’s untimely death was especially egregious. This is general educational information and not intended to provide legal advice.

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