If a person or a business hurts someone, the responsible party may have legal or financial liability. Someone hurt by a drunk driver could file a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who got behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
However, the person most negatively affected by a situation may not be able to take legal action. If a drunk driver causes a fatal crash, the person harmed by their actions won’t be in a position to file an insurance claim, let alone pursue a civil lawsuit.
The surviving dependent family members left behind after a tragic crash may want to pursue justice. Wrongful death lawsuits allow those who depended on someone to go to civil court on their behalf if their death was the result of someone’s negligence, carelessness, lack of skill misconduct or default.
How do you prove that a business or individual caused your loved one’s death?
You need evidence to present in court
Traffic camera footage and blood test results would be useful evidence for those affected by a drunk driving crash. There could also the security camera footage, witness statements and business records showing that one party took actions or failed to take actions and as a result caused a death. What evidence you require will depend on the circumstances of your loved one’s death.
Civil lawsuits can be an option even for families who did not receive justice from the criminal courts. Although the other party may have violated the law, prosecutors may have felt like the evidence did not achieve the very high standard necessary for a criminal conviction. In criminal court, prosecutors need to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that one person violated the law.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, the standard for evidence is lower and therefore easier for you to meet. You only need to show that a preponderance of the evidence supports your claim that the other party is responsible. In other words, more evidence should support your claim than refute it. A reasonable doubt or even several reasonable doubts won’t be enough to avoid civil responsibility despite being sufficient to prevent a criminal conviction.
Pursuing a wrongful death claim isn’t easy
Obviously, neither individuals nor businesses want to face financial consequences related to someone’s death. The compensation required could include a lifetime of wages. A drunk driver or the company that employed them will do everything in their power to fight back against a wrongful death.
You may have a hard time proving the other party’s culpability and getting the compensation you deserve if you don’t have professional support and educate yourself more about Texas laws. Learning about the standard that applies to wrongful death claims can help you determine if you are in a position to pursue a lawsuit.