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Documentation Needed in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

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There is nothing that can replace a loved one regardless of the circumstances of their
death. However, when a death occurs due to another person’s negligence, what is
considered a normal part of life becomes the added tragedy of a wrongful death.
Before we discuss what documentation you need for a wrongful death case, we need to a
look at the various ways a wrongful death can occur.

Common Reasons for a Wrongful Death

Medical Malpractice

When a physician or any other medical professional causes a wrongful death as a result
of their negligence, they could be held liable. Some of the ways medical malpractice
cases occur are:

  • The Prescription and/or administration of wrong medications
  • Misdiagnosis of a life-threatening condition
  • Failure to administering the wrong treatment for a critical condition
  • X-ray and/or Laboratory errors.
  • Surgical mishaps, such as damaging organs when it could have been normally avoided.

Nursing Home Malpractice

When you place a loved one in a nursing home, both of you should feel protected. But
nursing homes should be held accountable for a wrongful death that occurs because of
employee’s negligence. Some cases can be:

  • Abuse and/or Neglect of patients
  • Unsuitable medical care
  • Failure to diagnose or treat a critical condition
  • Failure to give appropriate nourishment
  • Slips and/or falls
  • Errors in the administration of medication
  • Failure to refer a resident to outside professionals

Workplace Accidents

Accident are most common when a person is handling heavy equipment or doing
construction work. Some typical wrongful deaths that occur are:

  • Failure to have appropriate slip and fall protections
  • Failure to follow general ladder or scaffolding safety standards
  • Inadequate worker safety training
  • Defective equipment
  • Inferior safety precautions
  • Failure to furnish correct personal protective apparatus
  • Fires and explosions
  • Exposure to toxic substances.

Car Accidents, Truck Accidents, And Motorcycle Accidents

The common reason for a wrongful death occurs in either truck accidents, car
accidents, or motorcycle accidents. Some of the reasons vehicular accident can result in
a wrongful death includes:

  • Driver negligence, such as texting while driving or some other activity that took their
    attention off the road.
  • Driver recklessness, such as being under the influence of alcohol or drugs
    Failure to observe safety rules of the road.
  • A manufacturing defect on the vehicle, such as bad tires or defective brakes that caused
    the accident.

Common Documents you Need for a Wrongful Death Case

The evidence and documentation needed for a wrongful death varies for several reasons.
However, there are some common items you will generally need for any wrongful death
case. These are:

Any Police Reports and the Death Certificate

If the death was the final result of an event such as a slip and fall on a premises or a car
accident, law enforcement may have been called to investigate. A police report should
contain documentation that identifies the circumstance and cause of the accident.

A valid death certificate is a must in any such occurrence. It provides an accurate record
of the precise cause of death as confirmed by a coroner.

Medical Records and Autopsy Reports

If medical malpractice is suspected as the cause, obtain copies of his or her complete
medical records as soon as possible. You may have to request a full autopsy to determine
if medical error was involved. Toxicology reports will determine if a lethal medication
blunder was to blame while accidents such a surgical error typically requires an autopsy.

Evidence of the Relationship Between the Victim and Negligent Party

A relationship between the victim and negligent party shows the other party was
responsible to provide a duty of care to the victim. This can be as simple as a doctor
doing everything in their patient's best interest to keep him or her from suffering or
unnecessary harm.

In car accidents, this basically means that all drivers owe nearby pedestrians and drivers
a duty of taking care to obey all traffic laws and drive responsibly and safely. For wrongful
death claims that involved a third part and premises liability cases, you may need to
obtain, for example, the contract between a renter and a property-owner that proves it
was indeed the owner who failed to ensure the fire escape ladder was secured that led to
the wrongful death of your loved one.

Family Records and Tax Returns

Think about the value of your wrongful death claim, your attorney must be able to
estimate the financial and emotional impact the loss of your loved one will have on your

If the death was of a head of household who contributed to the majority of the family
finances, pay stubs or other such documentation will be a major portion of the
settlement to seek.

Proving emotional losses to a spouse, children, and other dependents is essential.
Spouses can claim loss of consortium, particularly for extended marriages. Children and
other dependents can claim loss of parental guidance support.

No one wants to deal with such matters, but should the occasion occur, we want to give
you a good chance of receiving all your loved one would have wanted you to have.

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