If an individual in West Virginia feels that a family member died due to another person’s negligence, they may wish to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A civil lawsuit might result in charges and penalties for the other party. To successfully make their case, the plaintiff should consider the four elements of a wrongful death lawsuit.

The four factors of a wrongful death lawsuit

The first factor of a wrongful death lawsuit is negligence. For a successful lawsuit, the relative of the deceased must prove that the death was caused by negligence or irresponsibility by the other party. The second factor is breach of duty. The client must be prepared to prove that the other party had a duty to keep the individual safe and healthy, like a doctor or a police officer. This can even apply to ordinary citizens: For example, drivers on the highway have a duty to look out for everyone else on the road.

The third factor is causation. The plaintiff must prove that the other individual’s recklessness or negligence was the direct cause of the individual’s death. Finally, the last factor is damages, which includes medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of income, pain and suffering, and anything else that can be legally proven to have negatively affected the plaintiff.

What individuals can do if they want to pursue a lawsuit

An individual who asserts that their family member died as a direct result of another person’s negligence might wish to speak with a personal injury attorney. An attorney might help their client gather evidence, file a claim, present their case to the court and pursue the highest possible settlement that’s owed to them. An attorney may also be able to answer any questions and help a client figure out if the case is worth pursuing in the first place.