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Unexpected Hindrances Victims’ Families Can Face When Proving Wrongful Death

In the realm of legal battles, wrongful death cases stand as poignant reminders of life’s fragility. Families grappling with the loss of a loved one endure emotional turmoil and find themselves entangled in a web of legal complexities. While seeking justice and closure, they encounter unexpected hindrances that impede their journey toward accountability and restitution.

This article explores the hindrances often faced by the victim’s families in proving wrongful deaths.

Burden of Proof

In wrongful death claims, the plaintiff bears the heavy burden of proof. Establishing negligence or misconduct requires compelling evidence, which can be elusive and arduous. The absence of concrete proof can undermine the case, leaving families disillusioned and denied justice.

Here’s an example of a Missouri-based victim’s hit-and-run accident case. According to The Kansas City Star, the victim was 15-year-old Gavin Kush, who died in 2018. The accident was caused by the other driver, Tyler Bonabhan, who was on probation on drug charges.

Gavin’s mom, Erica, got dressed for the lawsuit’s trial when she received a call stating that it had been dismissed. The reason given for dismissing the trial was a lack of evidence.

NBC Philadelphia covers another similar incident about a wrongful death case that got dismissed against a former cop. The police officer, Mark Dial, stopped a car being driven erratically. He then shot the driver, Eddie Irizarry, in self-defense. However, Eddie’s family thought otherwise and filed a case. The case was dismissed due to a lack of evidence.

Complex Legal Procedures

Wrongful death law is complicated, as each state may have different region-specific regulations. For instance, the Alabama Supreme Court recently ruled frozen embryos to be considered as children under wrongful death law. An NCR Online article points out this has raised many complex legal questions. Similarly, each state, such as Missouri, can have different wrongful death laws.

For bereaved families, navigating the complex legal processes surrounding wrongful death claims can be extremely difficult. The labyrinth of paperwork, court hearings, and deadlines stresses a distressing situation. Without adequate legal guidance, families risk being ensnared in procedural mazes, delaying their quest for justice.

It is advisable to work with a local attorney to receive the best legal support. For instance, suppose you are the family of a victim who was wrongfully killed in St. Louis. In that case, hiring St. Louis personal injury lawyers will be an ideal solution. These attorneys will have the right region-specific knowledge to help you navigate the complex legal framework.

According to TorHoerman Law, the lawyers will stay by your side from the beginning until the end. They may also have a good network with local law enforcers, fellow attorneys, and judges who can help with your case.

Statute of Limitations

Time constraints imposed by statute of limitations pose a significant challenge in wrongful death cases. The right to bring legal action may be lost if a filing is not made within the allotted time. Negotiating this temporal constraint demands swift action and diligent adherence to deadlines, amplifying the pressure on grieving families.

The statute of limitations primarily becomes a hindrance in medical negligence cases. Many times, the patient may realize any health problems arising from negligence after several years. However, most US states have a two-to five-year statute of limitations.

To overcome this issue, a new bill has been passed in Maine. A Medscape article mentions that this new bill will consider the statute of limitation years after the victim discovers the negligence. However, the legal expectation is that the patient will seek medical attention if suffering from severe pain or other health conditions.

Witness Credibility

Reliance on witness testimonies to substantiate claims introduces an element of uncertainty. Witness credibility can be challenged, casting doubt on the integrity of their statements. Contradictory accounts or biased testimony can undermine the plaintiff’s case, necessitating thorough vetting and corroborating evidence.

The case of Marcellus Williams is an example of how witness credibility can hinder any case. According to the Innocence Project, he is facing execution despite DNA evidence proving his innocence. The article states that his conviction was based on statements of two incentivized witnesses.

It also points out that such instances have occurred in the past. Around 14% of death penalty cases based on incentivized witnesses have later been exonerated.

Financial Strain

Financial strain can become a significant obstacle for families seeking justice in cases of wrongful death. An enormous emotional toll results when a loved one passes away as a result of carelessness or misconduct.

But alongside grief, families often have to navigate complex legal processes, which can be financially draining. Legal fees, court costs, and expenses related to gathering evidence can quickly accumulate, placing a heavy burden on grieving families.

Moreover, losing the deceased family member’s income can exacerbate financial strain. In many cases, the deceased was a primary breadwinner, and their death leaves the family without a vital source of financial support.

This loss of income may result in immediate financial difficulties, such as not being able to pay bills, mortgages, or other expenses. Families may find themselves struggling to make ends meet, adding to their stress and anxiety during an already challenging time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim Even If the At-Fault Party Was Found Not Guilty in a Criminal Trial?

Yes, even if the guilty party was found not guilty in a criminal trial, you are still able to pursue a wrongful death claim. The burden of proof in criminal and civil proceedings is different. Consequently, you can still pursue justice in a civil lawsuit even after being found not guilty in a criminal trial.

What Losses Am I Entitled to in a Wrongful Death Case?

In wrongful death cases, economic damages like lost wages and medical costs are frequently awarded as damages. Non-monetary losses like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress are also included. The applicable state laws and the case’s specifics determine the damages available.

I Want to File a Wrongful Death Claim, Do I Need an Attorney?

Even though you can pursue a wrongful death claim without legal counsel, your chances of success increase when you hire a professional. You can concentrate on getting better while an attorney handles the intricacies of the legal system, gathers evidence, and bargains with insurance companies.

In conclusion, the pursuit of justice in wrongful death cases is fraught with unforeseen obstacles that test the resilience of grieving families. From legal complexities to emotional turmoil, each hurdle presents unique challenges that demand steadfast resolve and unwavering determination. Despite the formidable barriers, the quest for accountability remains an indomitable pursuit fueled by the enduring memory of those lost too soon.

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