Last Updated on June 16, 2021 by Theodore Spaulding
In this video, Georgia personal injury trial attorney Theodore Spaulding reviews what factors are involved in proving death during civil litigation
How do you prove death in a civil case? Keep watching this video to learn the answer to this question. Hi, I’m Ted Spaulding. I’m Atlanta personal injury trial lawyer and I’m the founder here at Spaulding Injury Law. So this question is really, how do you prove wrongful death in a wrongful death civil case? So what you have to prove is that the death was caused by the negligence of another party, either an individual, a corporation, or both, right? So wrongful death. So we’re back to that standard injury negligence standard. Was the defendant or defendants negligent in causing the death of the plaintiff? So some case, it’s very easy to do, right? So if you’ve got a car wreck case, tractor-trailer, motorcycle wreck case, all right, those are easier to prove because you’ve got a police report most of the time. Police officer is investigating and determining the other party is at fault for causing the wreck that caused the death. Harder in medical malpractice cases, for instance, that the procedure or the doctor did something to cause the death, right, caused injury that caused the death. What oftentimes comes up in this is you’ve got an incident that appears to have caused the death, but the defense will try to find other arguments for why the deceased passed away other than that incident, okay?
So, for example, I had a case where a lady fell 16 feet to her death. She happened to be drinking at the time and it was a low guard rail, okay? So the negligence was, you know, but for that guard rail being too low below code, it would have kept her within the stairs. She wouldn’t have fallen over 15 feet to her death, right? She would’ve just fallen right there on the stairs, maybe broken something, that’s all her fault. But instead, because of the negligence, she died. So there’s a good example. The defense tried to say, “Oh, she’s drunk. She died of alcohol. It wasn’t the low railing.” They even tried medical malpractice because she survived for two hours and died at the emergency room. So those are all sorts of things, right, which is, are they going to try to throw mud and say, “Look, we understand there was this incident, but it did not cause the death”? So that’s what we’re talking about in these cases. It can be really nasty. We were talking to family members that are pursuing a wrongful death claim that are trying to grieve for their family member that have to bring this at a certain period of time. And they’re being told, “Well, we think they died for another reason.” So not a lot of fun having to pursue these kinds of claims, right, because we’re talking about someone who died. But this is a big issue, is proving negligence caused the death of the plaintiff.
All right. So, hopefully, this answered your question. If it did not, if you have other questions, if you have a claim or case you’d like to see if my firm can handle, please reach out to me, comment to this video below. Go to my website, spauldinginjurylaw.com, we’ve got a contact form on there, and we’ll reach back out to you. Give me a phone call, I’ll be happy to talk with you, 770-744-0890 or 470-695-9950. Thanks so much for watching this video.
For close to 15 years, Mr. Spaulding has helped victims of negligence across the state of Georgia resolve personal injury disputes, and he’s received a remarkable number of awards and honors from the legal community recognizing his commitment to clients and to the metro-Atlanta area.
As an undergraduate, Mr. Spaulding belonged to the Phi Beta Kappa honors fraternity at the University of Georgia, and he obtained his legal training at the Georgia State College of Law, where he clerked for the Honorable Judge Rowland Barnes of the Fulton County Superior Court. Mr. Spaulding has also worked for the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Atlanta Enforcement Division. Since 2005, he has dedicated his career to helping the injured victims of negligence and their loved ones win justice in Georgia’s personal injury courts.