It is devastating to lose someone you love to another person’s intentional acts or negligence. If you are a surviving family member facing this tragedy, you may want to seek legal justice and compensation for this wrongful death. However, it is important to understand the burden of proof that is required in such a case to get a good outcome. We will address the crucial question, “What is the burden of proof for wrongful death?” and analyze the key elements of a wrongful death claim.

You may also want to consider hiring a Long Beach wrongful death lawyer for your claim.

The Preponderance of Evidence

In wrongful death cases and other civil cases, there is a certain standard of proof that is required, known as the preponderance of evidence. This is a legal standard that means the plaintiff must provide evidence to convince the court their claims are more likely to be true than not. You essentially have the burden of proving that there is a greater chance that the actions or negligence of the defendant was the cause of the wrongful death.

When compared to criminal cases where guilt has to be proven “beyond a reasonable doubt,” the preponderance of evidence is a lower burden of proof. To meet this burden, you must present strong evidence to support each element of your case, which can come in different forms, including:

  • Witness testimonies
  • Medical records
  • Financial documentation
  • Expert testimonies

Presenting compelling evidence to meet the preponderance of evidence standard will make your case significantly stronger, increasing the likelihood of a successful outcome and ensuring you get justice for the death of your loved one.

What You Must Prove in a Wrongful Death Claim

When a family member or a dependent of a deceased victim files a wrongful death claim, there are a few important aspects they must establish to ensure the defendant is held liable and their case is successful. You must prove the following elements in a wrongful death claim:

Duty of Care

You have to demonstrate that the defendant owed the deceased a certain duty of care. This duty can arise in many different relationships, such as a driver showing care to pedestrians and other people on the road, a property owner to visitors or guests, or a doctor to their patient.

Breach of Duty

You must prove that the defendant acted recklessly, negligently, or intentionally caused harm, thereby breaching their duty of care. Perhaps the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care or performed an act that put the deceased person at risk. You have to show that a reasonable person would not have acted in the same way in the defendant’s position.


Show that the defendant’s breach of duty directly caused the death of the victim. In other words, the victim died because of the actions or inaction of the defendant. It is vital for your claim that you establish a clear connection between the death and the breach of duty.


Lastly, show that the dependent or family of the deceased has suffered some kind of damage because of the wrongful death. This could be costs for a funeral and burial, a loss of financial support, or emotional distress. This will emphasize the effect the death has had on the family and those left behind.

If you can successfully prove each of these elements, you can build a fairly strong wrongful death case and increase your chances of holding the responsible party accountable. You can ultimately secure justice for the victim and their family.


Q. What Is Crucial When Collecting Evidence for Wrongful Death?

A. When collecting evidence for wrongful death, there are a few things that should be taken into consideration. One of the most crucial things to consider is timeliness. It is important to collect evidence as soon as possible because some evidence can get lost, destroyed, or become unreliable. Another crucial element to consider is relevance. The evidence you gather should directly pertain to the circumstances of the wrongful death and support your claims.

Q. Is It Hard to Win a Wrongful Death Case?

A. It can be hard to win a wrongful death case depending on factors of the case itself. The likelihood of winning depends on the strength of your evidence, the specific circumstances of the case, and the skill of your lawyer, amongst other things. If you have the proper evidence to support your case and prove all necessary elements, you may have a good chance at winning.

Q. How Can an Attorney Help Meet the Burden of Proof in a Wrongful Death Case?

A. An attorney can help meet the burden of proof by giving you invaluable guidance in many aspects of your case. A skilled attorney investigates the death of your loved one, collects the necessary evidence, and determines how that evidence can support your claim. Having an attorney on your side can increase your chances of effectively meeting the burden of proof in your wrongful death case.

Q. What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement in the US?

A. The average wrongful death settlement in the US varies widely depending on which state the case is filed in and the circumstances of each case. It is important to remember that many aspects of a case can influence the settlement amount, such as the impact on the family members. It is important to consult with a lawyer to understand how much your case may be worth.

Successfully Navigate the Burden of Proof With McLachlan Law, APC

It is crucial to successfully navigate the burden of proof in a wrongful death case if you want to secure justice and compensation for the death of your loved one. At McLachlan Law, APC, we understand how complex these proceedings can be, and we can give you the support you need during this time. Take that first step and contact our office today. You can trust that your wrongful death case will be in the capable hands of our dedicated team.