Every death is a tragedy to someone. If you have lost your loved one because of the negligence of another person, that tragedy can be particularly painful because it could have been avoided. Filing a wrongful death claim can help you to hold people accountable for the death of your loved one and get the financial support you need in a difficult time. What must you have to file this claim?

Did the person have a “duty of care”?

First and foremost, you will have to prove that there were reasonable precautions that could have been taken to keep others safe. The person you are filing the claim against could have been a doctor bound by the professional duty to care for this person’s health, or they may have been another driver needing to follow traffic laws. Holding them responsible first depends on proving that there were ways that this tragedy could have been prevented.

Did they fail to do that duty?

The plaintiff had a duty, but did they fail to do that duty? That negligence is another aspect of the wrongful death claim. For example, if your loved one suffered due to one of the hundreds of thousands of fatal medical errors that occurs each year, then the doctor or nurse responsible violated their duty to properly care for patients. A company that fails to properly test a product or that does not include warning labels to inform you of the dangers of improper use failed to produce a product that you can safely use.

Was their failure the cause of your loved one’s death?

Ultimately, this is what every personal injury and wrongful death case is based on. Did another person’s negligence cause or contribute to the harm suffered by your loved one? In some cases, this causation will be clear—for example, a car crash caused by a drunk driver will be relatively easy to connect to the injuries that it causes. In other cases, proving that their negligence caused death will require more extensive research, consultation with experts and other supporting information.

If you and your attorney can establish these three elements, you may be eligible for compensation for the financial and emotional challenges that the loss of your loved one have caused. This can include medical bills, funeral cost, lost wages and additional damages for the pain and suffering you have experienced.