We have got a situation where someone has been injured by the negligence of another party, and the injuries, unfortunately, lead to the death of that individual. So how do you prove the death was related to the incident in question? Well, quite frankly it’s very similar to a personal injury claim, where you have at fault party causing an injury, and then you’re trying to relate that injury back to that incident, the same situation is in a wrongful death case.
The only difference being, you sometimes in cases where there are background and other issues going on with the individual, the defense may have an argument that ‘Look, the injury suffered because of the fault of the other party aren’t what actually lead to the death of the individual. It’s a very hard defense as you can imagine. You’re claiming look they would have died anyway that day, or very shortly thereafter. It’s not one that works very often.
So in most cases proving death is no different than proving the injury itself, which lead to the death. But in some cases, it does become a horserace over what exactly caused the death. There may be some mystery there that leads to the defense having some arguments. Often times we see them in cases where there may have been consumption of alcohol by the plaintiff unrelated to the incident, and that level of alcohol may have caused certain conditions to occur etc.
Ultimately, it’s the defense trying probably less so to say, “Look they would have died otherwise”. And that’s a hard argument. But to say look, we’re not the only cause of the death here, there were other things going on. So sometimes you’ve got to get into that with experts, and linking the death itself to the injuries itself caused all by the at fault party, not some other underlying issue going on with the plaintiff.