What is wrongful death?

The loss of a loved one due to the negligence acts of another person is the general basis for a wrongful death claim. According to FindLaw, wrongful death is a civil court process wherein you can request monetary damages for your loss.

If you have a situation where you may have such a claim, it is important to ensure you can prove your case fully.


The elements of a wrongful death case are fairly simple. You must be able to prove that your loved one’s death was due to the actions of another person and that those actions were negligent. In most cases, the actions that led to the death will be illegal or breaking the law in some way. They may also be reckless. They do not have to be intentional.

A good example is if your loved one died in a car accident and the other driver was drunk. The drunk driving is a criminal act and therefore, it was negligence. Another example would be a premises liability issue where your loved one died because a property owner did not adhere to the law for providing proper warning signs.

You also need to show the direct connection between the actions and the death. In the case of a car accident, that would be fairly simple. Other cases may require you to secure medical documentation or reports from first responders.

Court requirements

When you sue someone for wrongful death, you will go into a court that handles civil matters. This is not a criminal case that involves the state. You will be the plaintiff and the other party is the defendant. You can only sue for money. You should not expect punishment as part of the ruling in the case.

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