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The Burden of Proof in Wrongful Death Cases

Death is difficult for all parties involved, but there are things that can be done to mend the wound and start moving forward. When a loved one’s death is caused by the negligence of another person or entity, the family has the right to file a wrongful death claim. The plaintiff in these cases carries the burden of proof, which means they must prove the defendant acted carelessly and caused the loved one’s death.

These civil suits are prone to be complex, but the attorneys at Jenkins Utley, P.C. have handled many wrongful death cases. With our immense experience in this practice area, we have helped countless families recover their losses.

Elements the Plaintiff Must Prove in a Wrongful Death Case

Once the plaintiff files a lawsuit, they must prove four elements to win a wrongful death case before any compensation can be awarded:

  • Duty of Care – the plaintiff must prove the defendant owed a “duty of care” to the deceased, which means they had a duty to do something to keep someone safe or refrain from doing something that would hurt another person.
  • Breach of Duty – if this duty is proven to exist, the plaintiff must attest how the defendant breached this duty due to their negligent actions.
  • Causation – the plaintiff must prove how the defendant’s negligence caused the loved one’s death.
  • Damages – the plaintiff must lastly prove how the deceased suffered damages including hospitalization, loss of income, medical expenses, funeral costs, and more.

The Burden of Proof

Once the plaintiff has proved the above elements, they must meet the burden of proof. Since a wrongful death case is a civil action (as opposed to a criminal case), the burden of proof is set lower. Therefore, the jury must determine if the defendant “more likely than not” caused the loved one’s death, where the normal standard is “beyond a reasonable doubt”.

Burden of proof does not measure the quantity of evidence but instead evaluates the quality and credibility of evidence. If the plaintiff cannot meet the burden of proof of any elements of negligence with their presented evidence, they cannot win any compensation.

Contact Jenkins Utley, P.C. for Your Wrongful Death Case

To successfully ensure the burden of proof has been met, it is crucial to hire a highly skilled attorney that has extensive experience in wrongful death cases. Jenkins Utley, P.C. is the right law firm with the finest wrongful death attorneys in Atlanta. While we are here for you and your family during this difficult time, we will work tirelessly to build a solid case and obtain the proper compensation on your behalf.

Get started with a complimentary consultation by filling out our contact form or calling (404) 334-3013.