How To Prove Wrongful Death

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How To Prove Wrongful Death

By Steven Jensen
May 4, 2023
How to prove wrongful death

Do you believe that the negligence of another party or parties caused the death of a loved one? You may feel that no one understands. Perhaps you and your family feel there is no way to prove that your loved one’s death is wrong.

There are ways to prove wrongful death when you have experienced wrongful death attorneys on your side who understand that a wrongful act, such as a car accident or medical malpractice, can indeed cause the wrongful death of a person.

What You Need To Know About Wrongful Death Lawsuits

What you need to know about wrongful death lawsuits

Wrongful death lawsuits provide compensation for loved ones who are eligible to receive compensation after a loved one dies because of the negligence of another party. The State of Utah defines a wrongful death as the death of a person caused by another person’s negligence or unlawful acts.

The Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute explains that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit brought by family members and dependents of a deceased loved one against an at-fault party.

State statutes govern a wrongful death claim and may only be filed by the persons that the state allows, such as dependents or the personal representative permitted to file the claim.

Wrongful deaths may occur because the at-fault party failed to obey traffic laws and caused a motor vehicle accident, a bicycle accident that caused the wrongful death of someone, or a motorcycle accident that resulted in a wrongful death case. Some other examples that may result in a wrongful death claim include medical malpractice or the wrongful act that caused the death of a pedestrian.

The Four Key Elements of Wrongful Death Cases

Four key elements are important to prove when pursuing a successful wrongful death claim.


A wrongful death attorney must be able to prove that the wrongful death was the result of negligence. The death occurred because of the negligent or reckless acts of the defendant.

Breach of Duty

A breach of duty in a wrongful death occurs when the defendant in a wrongful death case owed a duty to the deceased person and breached that duty. One example is that motor vehicle drivers must obey all traffic laws. Another example is the duty of care that doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals have to their patients.

In a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care they owed the deceased person and that the negligence led to the person’s death.

Proving Causation

Proving causation is tricky when the at-fault party’s attorney or insurance provider denies that the defendant’s negligence caused the person’s death. The plaintiff must prove that, but for the negligent actions or failure to act, the loved one would not have died from their injuries or a medical issue.

Proving causation is difficult, except when our experienced wrongful death attorneys fight for their clients to get compensation for the death of their loved one. Contact us to learn how to start your wrongful death claim.


To qualify as a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must quantify damages that should be awarded in the claim. The cost of hospitalization, other medical expenses, loss of earnings and future earnings, and funeral and burial expenses are examples of these damages.

The damages award may also include compensation for the pain and suffering the deceased person endured before their death.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Common causes of wrongful death

Several common causes exist for wrongful death claims. No matter which common causes led to the person’s death, the four elements required to prove a wrongful death case still apply to prove the wrongful death lawsuit.

Some common causes of wrongful death that may lead to a successful wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • Medical malpractice;
  • Car accidents, motorcycle accidents, and commercial truck accidents;
  • Birth injuries;
  • Workplace accidents;
  • Premises accidents;
  • Product defects;
  • Occupational exposure; and
  • Nursing homes or assisted living facilities neglect.

It is important to know that medical errors are listed as the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Several sources indicate that as many as 250,000 and possibly more than 400,000 deaths occur every year because of medical errors.

The burden of proof, whether a wrongful death occurred because of medical error, product defects, or a motor vehicle accident, is on the shoulders of the plaintiff. That is why you need experienced wrongful death attorneys on your side.

People Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit

All family members cannot file a wrongful death claim. Only the legal heirs can file a claim for a loved one’s wrongful death. The wrongful death attorney can file a claim on behalf of the spouse or the minor children of the loved one who sustained a fatal injury or died of other negligence caused by the defendant.

The parents of a deceased person could file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation if their adult child was not married at the time of their untimely death resulting from the liable party’s negligent behavior.

How Your Wrongful Death Settlements Are Paid Out

How your wrongful death settlements are paid out

The wrongful death attorney receives the payout for the wrongful death settlement or the amount awarded by the court in the wrongful death claim. The law firm deducts their fees and then pays the eligible surviving family members the agreed-upon compensation.

Many people likely wonder if they must pay taxes on the monetary compensation they receive in a wrongful death claim. The surviving family members who receive compensation do not have to pay inheritance, income, or estate taxes on the money they receive after they successfully pursue compensation for their loved one’s death.

Punitive or Exemplary Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

Your wrongful death lawyer may pursue punitive or exemplary damages in your personal injury case based on your loved one’s death. Conditions for successful claims for punitive or exemplary damages include when the negligent party committed an intentional act that resulted in the death of the plaintiff’s family member. Some other examples of when punitive or exemplary damages may be awarded include when the defendant committed a malicious or reckless act that caused fatal harm to the deceased person.

Recoverable damages include the reasonable cost of the funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses such as ambulance fees, emergency room costs, and the expenses for doctors, hospital, and surgery costs.

The plaintiff may also recover non-economic damages, including the loss of companionship, protection, support, and financial support if the deceased loved one had not died. 

An Experienced Parker + McConkie Wrongful Death Lawyer Knows How To Prove Wrongful Death

We understand the emotional trauma that occurs when a loved one dies from negligence or the defendant’s intentional act. You do not want to have to deal with insurance companies or defendants that want to pay as little financial compensation as possible or no monetary damages at all for the death of your loved one. You can count on us to seek justice for your family.

Our firm knows how to prove wrongful death and will prove it by several methods, which include:

  • Gathering evidence in your favor through witness statements, depositions, our investigators, and photo or video evidence.
  • Challenging the defenses of the liable party who will use legal arguments to deny or minimize their responsibility.
  • Our knowledgeable and experienced wrongful death attorney will file the claim on your behalf and present a compelling case.
  • We will file the wrongful death suit and represent you in court if necessary if the at-fault party refuses to pay you the compensation they owe.We will negotiate a fair settlement using strong evidence and arguments to urge the other party to settle the claim out of court if possible so that you and your family do not have to endure the lengthy process of a court battle.

Contact Parker + McConkie Today for Legal Representation

Legal representation

We are here to help you during this difficult time after losing your loved one. Our attorneys work tirelessly to get compensation for family members of deceased loved ones who are wrongful death victims.

Contact Parker + McConkie today for legal representation. We work hard to make sure that at-fault parties are held liable for their negligent acts. We will seek justice, even though we know that no monetary damages are enough to compensate you for losing your loved one.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation. Call us at (801) 877-1493 or contact us online today.

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Schedule a Free Consultation Now By Contacting Our Team at (801) 980-9708