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Even when someone else’s recklessness directly caused your family member’s premature death, you are still responsible for proving them legally at fault. Additionally, you may need to prove that your deceased family member did not act in a way that contributed to their own death, or you may miss out on much-needed compensation.

Determining negligence in Elgin wrongful death cases is almost always a complex process that can be extremely difficult to navigate on your own. Fortunately, our dedicated wrongful death attorneys — who have helped families like yours through this in the past — could work diligently on your behalf to get the best possible result from your claim.

How Negligence Is Defined Under State Law

Wrongful death claims follow most of the same basic rules as other types of injury claims, including those governing how to establish someone else as legally responsible for causing an accident. There are some exceptional circumstances under which a person or company may be strictly liable for a wrongful death. However, most of the time holding someone legally at fault for a loved one’s premature death requires proving that the other person was legally negligent.

Negligence has four main components, including in the context of wrongful death litigation. Each must be present for a case built around this legal principle to proceed:

  • The defendant being sued owed the decedent a duty of care—in other words, an implicit or explicit obligation to act responsibly under specific circumstances
  • The defendant breached their duty by doing something irresponsible or, in some cases, illegal
  • The defendant’s breach of duty was the main and direct cause of an accident that directly resulted in the decedent’s death
  • The decedent’s death caused compensable losses to the people seeking to recover financially through a wrongful death claim

A practiced wrongful death attorney based in Elgin can answer questions about how proving negligence claims works in practice during a private consultation.

The Possible Impact of Comparative Fault

Another aspect of standard injury litigation that may also apply to wrongful death cases is the concept of comparative negligence. This is negligent behavior by the deceased person that directly contributed to causing their death. State courts adhere to what is known as a modified comparative fault system, under which a court-assigned percentage of fault can be held against a person as a proportional reduction from their final damage award. Also, any plaintiff holding more than 50 percent of the total fault for their injury is ineligible to recover any compensation at all.

Unfortunately, allegations of comparative fault along these lines can reduce or potentially prevent recovery by family members impacted by a wrongful death. This is an especially big reason why assistance from a seasoned attorney can be so vital to achieving a favorable outcome from a wrongful death claim in Elgin built around the theory of negligence.

An Elgin Attorney Can Assist With Determining Negligence in Wrongful Death Claims

No part of a wrongful death lawsuit is simple in legal, procedural, or personal terms. That said, establishing through a preponderance of the evidence that someone else’s negligence directly caused your loved one’s death can be among the most challenging of all.

A compassionate lawyer could be of great assistance when determining negligence in Elgin wrongful death claims, no matter how the death happened or what experience you have with civil litigation. Call today for a private consultation.

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