What Is Involved in Proving Wrongful Death?

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Wrongful Death vocational expert

He was a school teacher. He enjoyed gardening and spending time with his three adult children, and his grandchildren.  Like every morning before, he walked across a rural roadway to get the morning paper.  Sadly, this day was unlike any other. 

A woman driving a Cadillac SUV, who lived locally, was apparently blinded by the rising sun that glared down the roadway.  She struck the school teacher, killing him.  The police, after a short investigation, concluded that the accident was entirely the school teacher’s fault because he was in a roadway outside of a crosswalk. 

Not convinced, the deceased’s three adult children brought a wrongful death suit.  With the help of expert testimony and testimony from local residents, they were able to obtain substantial damages for their tragic loss against the negligent driver.  

Factually, they established that the sun glare was common knowledge to anyone who lived in the area and that there was no crosswalk in that roadway for miles.  Also, they proved that the deceased would not have knowingly placed himself in the path of an oncoming car.  Thus, they showed that the SUV driver was at fault for the accident.  As far as damages, a vocational expert testified as to the extent of the family’s losses, and the family ultimately received those damages in a large settlement.  

This example shows that with the help of experts, you can obtain a fair and just resolution when a loved one dies in an accident.    

In this article, we are going to discuss the elements of a wrongful death case, and how a wrongful death vocational expert can get your family the results you deserve.  If you have additional questions about incorporating vocational experts into your wrongful death case after reviewing this article, we invite you to contact us at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. – OAS.  We can provide wrongful death vocational experts in your case.  

We are one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States.  To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.

Component Parts of a Wrongful Death Case

A civil claim arises for wrongful death when a person dies due to the negligence of another.  Someone killed due to a dangerous condition in a building, or due to a faulty product, or due to a car accident like the story above, are all examples of wrongful death cases.  

Wrongful death lawsuits are brought by a family member of the person who died, with the purpose of holding the person (or entity) responsible for their negligence that caused the death.

There are three basic elements of a wrongful death claim.  A family member must prove the following:

1. Conduct that amounts to a wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty;
2. The conduct in question was the cause of the family member’s death; and
3. The conduct in question would have allowed the deceased person to file a lawsuit had he or she not perished in the accident. 

It is important to note that when you bring a wrongful death action to recover due to the death of a loved one, the two most contentious elements will likely be negligence and causation.  In other words, the party being sued will challenge a wrongful death lawsuit by arguing (i) that the party was not negligent at all, and (ii) that any alleged negligence was not the cause of the death.  

Vocational Experts Can Be Pivotal to Your Wrongful Death Case.

If you have retained a lawyer to represent you in a case involving the wrongful death of a loved one, you may wonder why you would ever need a vocational expert.  That can be answered in one word – damages.  You see, in a wrongful death case, one of the most important, and often challenging parts is to quantify the financial loss due to a person’s wrongful death.  

While medical bills are valuable in quantifying the medical care you received, there are other damages that are hard to prove.  Specifically, you need a complete picture of the full financial loss when a loved one, who was earning money for a family, passes away.    

A wrongful death vocational expert has particular experience quantifying, for purposes of damages, how much you and your family will suffer because a loved one passed away due to a catastrophic accident.  An expert can also use his or her expertise to calculate the future earnings your family will no longer realize because of the wrongful death. Thus, a wrongful death vocational expert can be vital to your case.     

Let OAS Be the Wrongful Death Vocational Expert for Your Case

Many attorneys fail to realize the importance of properly documenting damages in a case.  Sometimes, all emphasis and energies are placed on the initial hurdle of liability, and the impact of wrongful death on the financial future of the deceased’s family members is not well established.  A good damages preparation may help to strengthen a case once liability has been established.  To date, vocational experts have been used in a wide variety of cases.  Their expertise can benefit personal injury, wrongful death, medical malpractice, product liability, workers’ compensation, matrimonial, age discrimination, and wrongful termination cases.

The experts at Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. (OAS) have over forty years of experience documenting the income potential and employment capacity of those with wrongful termination cases, as well as with the underemployed, unemployed, and disabled spouses in many types of cases.

OAS specializes in working with the plaintiff or defense attorney to assist in objectively documenting the economics in a case.  From the initial referral to the trial testimony, OAS works with the retaining attorney so that the vocational assessment of the case can be objectively and efficiently presented. 

OAS has served as experts on many multi-million-dollar outcomes including a record-setting $102 million verdict in a NY catastrophic injury case. Through objective consulting, analysis, and vocational testing, we specialize in assisting attorneys in documenting damages.

We strongly believe in the importance of a clear and understandable presentation of the facts.  OAS is the leading provider of Vocational Expert and Life Care Planning Services for Plaintiff and Defense attorneys. 

The company specializes in assisting attorneys in evaluating earning capacity in divorce cases and documenting the damages in cases where an individual has been severely injured by providing objective findings on how the injuries affect a persons’ ability to work and earn money, as well as the cost of care required in catastrophic injuries.

OAS is your Vocational Expert & Life Care Planner Nationwide, with offices in New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Florida, Texas, Nevada, and California.  

Occupational Assessment Services, Inc. is one of the most experienced employability and life care planning firms in the United States.  To discuss your case, call us at 1-800-292-1919, contact us at a location near you, or through our online form.