Proving Wrongful Death

Survivors can file a lawsuit for damages from negligent or intentional acts which result in death. Automobile accidents, falls, medical malpractice, assaults and products that cause the death of a beloved family member may result in an award of monetary damages to the decedent's survivors. A judge or jury determines whether the person or company who was negligent or committed an intentional act should be held responsible for the death, and also determines the amount of monetary damages awarded.

To be successful in a negligence case, the survivors must prove:

  • Duty of care:
    To be held responsible for negligence the survivor must prove that there was a duty of care owed to the decedent. This means the defendant had a responsibility to act to keep the decedent safe in some manner. An example of a duty of care is operating a vehicle/boat safely or keeping a patient alive during a medical procedure.
  • Breach of Duty of Care:
    If a judge or jury determines that a duty of care existed, the survivor must also prove that the Defendant breached the duty of care. For example, if a defendant found to have a duty of care, the survivors must also prove that the defendant failed to act with due care. In a vehicle driver situation, evidence of failure to act with due care could be proven by excessive speed, or driving while intoxicated.
  • Causation
    If the judge or jury finds due care was not used by the defendant, the survivors must also prove that the breach of due care directly resulted in the death. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose cancer, but the death actually was caused by the decedent's heart attack, the defendant may not be held responsible for the death.

In each case, if a judge or jury determines that a defendant had a duty of care to the decedent, and failed to meet that duty of care, and it was the breach that caused the death, the survivors will be awarded monetary damages for the loss of their family member.

For assistance with your legal matter, we invite you to call on our trial attorneys to ascertain how the law firm of W. Morris Taylor, P.C., can put over 80 combined years of legal experience to work for you, call us at (314) 725-7000, or contact us online. Discover how we earned our reputation for excellence and our track record of success.

Representative Cases

legal malpracticeCase Type: Legal Malpractice
award amountDamages: $15 million; Settlement: Confidential
read moreRead case summary »
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legal malpracticeCase Type: Legal Negligence
award amountSettlement: $6.8 million
read moreRead case summary »
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personal injuryCase Type: Personal Injury
award amountSettlement: $3.25 million
read moreRead case summary »
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wrongful deathCase Type: Wrongful Death
award amountSettlement: Confidential
read moreRead case summary »
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wrongful deathCase Type: Wrongful Death
award amountSettlement: $1.3 million
read moreRead case summary »
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personal injuryCase Type: Personal Injury
award amountVerdict: $500,000; Medical: $39,000
read moreRead case summary »
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wrongful deathCase Type: Wrongful Death
award amountSettlement: $565,000
read moreRead case summary »
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