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Defining and Understanding “Cause of Action”

April 18, 2018

“To file a wrongful death lawsuit, you need to establish the cause of action. But how do you do that?”

It’s never easy to lose a loved one as the result of another’s actions—whether the death may be intentional or incidental. When the death is caused intentionally, it is called homicide and legal action is rather straightforward. When the death occurs by accident, legal proceedings can get more complicated.

In such cases, many are prepared to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit, only to discover that not all unanticipated deaths warrant such action. Thus, before considering seeking legal recourse, it may first be helpful to gain an understanding of a wrongful death cause of action.

Establishing cause of action is paramount to a strong wrongful death claim. These four elements must be present to successfully establish the cause of action:

  • You must establish a link between the defendant’s negligence and your loved one’s death

  • You must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to your family member or friend

  • You must show that a degree of negligence on the part of a defendant was present in your loved one’s case

  • Your loved one’s death must have produced quantifiable economic and non-economic damages

Only when these points are strongly evidenced, a cause of action could be established and a wrongful death lawsuit can—and should—be filed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, unintentional injuries are the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. Common examples of this include surgical errors, automobile accidents, and workplace injuries. Speak to an experienced legal professional for more information about the cause of action, negligence, and wrongful death suits.