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What are the elements of a wrongful death lawsuit?

No one can tell when a person will die. In Kane County, Illinois, local residents understand that death is inevitable and when their loved ones die due to natural causes such as a serious medical condition, they find it easier to accept and move on with their lives. However, preventable death is a different matter. When someone dies due to negligence, the family members of the deceased are likely to ask questions about the fatal accident. For them, justice and compensation are the two factors that can help them move forward following a tragic accident.

Wrongful death lawsuits often follow in the wake of fatal accidents. This type of claim can bring compensation to the family members of the deceased once the responsible party is proven to be negligent. A wrongful death claim must establish several important elements before it can move forward, including proving that the death of a person occurred, that the death was due to another person's negligence or recklessness and that surviving family members are suffering from financial injury due to the sudden loss of their loved one. Additionally, a personal representative of the deceased must be present at trial.

Potential plaintiffs must present substantial evidence when they file claims. They can obtain evidence from police reports and witnesses' accounts or they can perform a separate investigation in order to ensure that they have all of the relevant facts. Insurance companies examine the evidence and consider such factors when determining appropriate compensation. A lack of evidence can result in lower compensation, a denied claim or a decreased chance of proving the negligence of the responsible party.

Readers who have lost a loved one in a fatal accident may choose to file a wrongful death claim by themselves or they may ask legal professionals to file the claims on their behalf. Legal professionals can ensure that the claim is handled properly for the benefit of the plaintiffs and their families.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful death overview," accessed Jan. 6, 2015

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