Enduring the death of someone you love is a traumatic event in and of itself. Still, when that person dies as the result of another individual’s negligence or wrongdoing, the pain can be magnified tenfold.
In California, the surviving family of an accidental death may seek justice by bringing forth a wrongful death case. Nonetheless, to do so, certain types of evidence must support their claim.
In this blog post, our San Diego wrongful death attorneys will discuss seven fundamental types of evidence your wrongful death case must have to be successful.
Table of Contents
#1 – Documentation of the Incident
Comprehensive documentation of the relevant incident is essential to any wrongful death case.
Examples of important documentation include but are not limited to the following.
- Comprehensive Police Reports: Any police reports related to the fatality should be recorded and used as primary evidence. Witness statements recorded by the police upon arrival at the scene should also be recorded.
- Accident Reports: Securing an accident report is vital if the wrongful death occurred due to a car accident, as these reports frequently include a comprehensive and notarized narrative of what happened.
- Photographs and Videos: Utilizing images and videos to demonstrate accident reconstruction will also be exceedingly helpful. Someone must take photos and videos of the incident scene, including any and all vehicles and environmental conditions that may have contributed to the incident.
Ensure that all relevant details within such documentation, including date, time, location, and involved parties, are accurately recorded.
#2 – Witness Statements
Eye witness accounts can help to sequence the events that led to the wrongful death correctly. These interpretations give the judge and jury a more comprehensive picture of what happened and are vital in proving the negligent party’s guilt.
Keep track of all names, addresses, and phone numbers provided to you; they may play a considerable part in the legal proceedings ahead.
#3 – Medical Records
When medical malpractice or an accident is the suspected cause of the wrongful death, obtaining the appropriate medical records is essential. It establishes a transparent link between the incident and its cause.
Gather all relevant medical records, including hospital reports, autopsy results, and physician statements. These records will show the extent of the injuries involved and any medical care administered.
#4 – Expert Testimony
Expert testimony from accredited individuals can help to strengthen your case even further.
Examples of those who can provide such testimony include medical experts, accident reconstruction experts, or industry-specific experts. These professionals can demystify accident-specific situations that may not be reconciled with common knowledge.
Many California courts will pay extra attention to what these experts say. As a result, their testimony could prove to be the link your case needs to establish negligence.
#5 – Financial Documentation
Thorough financial documentation will prove vital in establishing the validity of the economic impact that the wrongful death had on any surviving family members.
Examples of crucial financial documentation include:
- Income Records of the Deceased: These records typically include pay stubs, W-2 statements, and other documents that help to legally establish the deceased’s income and calculate the case’s “economic damages.”
- Employment Benefits Documentation: Besides income, your attorney should also consider if the deceased had any employment benefits, such as group medical insurance, retirement plans, automobile allowances, and stock options, among other things. These should all be calculated to demonstrate financial loss adequately.
- Potential Future Earnings: It’s imperative to include the deceased’s future earnings in your financial analysis to calculate projected losses and paint a comprehensive picture of damages.
Don’t forget to include any and all funeral and medical costs and all other expenditures you were forced to incur as a result of the death. Doing so can significantly impact the damages you’re awarded in California.
#6 – Communication Records
Documenting any and all communication between the decedent and the suspected responsible party will further strengthen your case.
This proof can include emails, texts, or other written correspondence that uncover the parties’ relationship. For cases involving negligence based on intentional harm, these records can be particularly pertinent in discovering motive and liability.
#7 – Statutes of Limitations Awareness
In California, there’s a specific time window within which you must take legal action should you suspect a wrongful death. That window of time is established by what is known as statutes of limitations, and they vary from state to state.
You may forfeit your right to pursue damages if you fail to file your lawsuit within that timeframe. Keeping track of all relevant deadlines regarding your case’s filing is imperative to avoid such an outcome.
Navigate Your Wrongful Death Case Confidently With Expert Help From Our Attorneys
Navigating a wrongful death case is emotionally challenging, but your chances of getting the justice you deserve increase exponentially with the proper evidence. The State of California’s legal landscape is complex and should not be walked alone without the appropriate legal guidance.
If you’re currently trying to navigate a fatal incident, contact our wrongful death attorneys today for a free consultation and to get the legal guidance you deserve.