All Questions

September 13, 2021 | Gary Burger

What do I have to prove in my wrongful death case?

You have lost a loved one in a heart-breaking, unjust accident due to another person's negligence or disregard for life. You want to take action and hold that person accountable for ending your loved one's life. The law allows you a chance to do so by filing a wrongful death suit.

Filing a wrongful death suit is your one chance to make the responsible party pay for their fatal behavior. You must have a skilled and experienced wrongful death lawyer representing your family to have the best chance of success in your suit and to make the most out of this opportunity to collect damages and hold the person who did this responsible. The wrongful death lawyers of Burger Law have many years of experience representing Missouri and Illinois families in the toughest wrongful death cases in the St. Louis area and recovering millions of dollars for families and victims of wrongful death and personal injuries. Find out how we can help you in your wrongful death case by calling us today at
(314) 500-HURT or sending us a message.

What do I have to prove in my wrongful death case?

A wrongful death suit is a civil claim in Missouri or Illinois state courts. As the plaintiff in a wrongful death case, there are facts you must prove. If these facts do not apply to your case or you fail to convince the defense or, if you go to trial, the judge and jury that these facts are present in your case, you will not be able to collect damages from the defendant. In order to make sure you have a legitimate wrongful death case and for the best chance at recovering damages for your claim, you need to talk to an experienced wrongful death lawyer in St. Louis right away. The lawyers of Burger Law are available and ready to help you and your family with your wrongful death claim today.

In proving your wrongful death case, you must prove the following facts are true:

  1. The defendant owed the decedent a duty of care.

    You must be able to prove that the person you are filing the suit against was expected to keep your loved one safe. In a car accident, it is automatically accepted that motorists owe their fellow road users a duty to drive safely and do their part to keep other drivers, passengers, and pedestrians from harm. In a medical situation, doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals are supposed to treat their patients as effectively as possible while doing as little harm as possible. Consumer product manufacturers are supposed to release products that have minimal risk to users, and any dangers in using the product should be adequately disclosed. Wrongful deaths happen in all kinds of situations, and your wrongful death lawyer will help you determine and prove the duty of care the defendant owed your loved one.

  2. The defendant breached this duty of care.

    The next fact you must establish is that the defendant, who was supposed to keep your loved one safe, did something that violated that responsibility. This is where negligence comes in. In a car accident, driving drunk, driving distracted, speeding, failing to follow traffic signals, failing to slow down or use headlights in poor weather conditions are all examples of failing to do their part to keep travelers around them safe. This violation could be an action, something the defendant did or, on the other hand, something the defendant failed to do.

  3. This breach of duty caused your loved one's death.

    Now, you must prove fault. To have a wrongful death case, you have to prove that not only did the defendant do something to breach their duty of care, but that this negligent behavior actually caused the victim's death. In some cases, this is more difficult to prove than in others. Your wrongful death attorney will likely consult and get testimony from experts like medical professionals or coroners who can determine the cause of the death and how certain conditions and injuries impact a person's ability to survive. In some cases, the victim is killed immediately during the event, such as in a car accident where the victim is killed upon impact, while other times the victim suffers severe injuries and receives medical care but ultimately is not able to survive.

  4. The defendant's negligence caused damages.

    Finally, to win your wrongful death claim, you as the plaintiff must show how the defendant's behavior has affected you. Damages can be things like expenses (such as medical bills, funeral costs, and lost income from your family member's wages) or abstract effects like pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship and support. A skilled wrongful death lawyer will calculate the complete value of your damages and negotiate appropriate financial compensation on your behalf. Burger Law's wrongful death attorneys have experience in wrongful death cases like yours and know how to value your damages and negotiate an excellent recovery.

Burden of Proof

In proving your wrongful death claim, you must understand the standard the courts require of the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit. Many of us are familiar with the standard in criminal cases that plaintiffs must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In civil cases like your wrongful death case, the standard for proving guilt is lower. Instead, you only need prove a preponderance of evidence. This means that you must establish through your evidence that the defendant more likely than not caused the wrongful death of your loved one and the resulting damages you have suffered.

Prove your Wrongful Death Case St. Louis | Burger Law

Count on the experienced and skilled St. Louis wrongful death attorneys of Burger Law to ensure you have a strong wrongful death case and are able to prove your claim in court. Your knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer will handle your case from beginning to end, ensuring you indeed have a valid claim, gathering all available evidence, determining the value of your damages, presenting an argument, negotiating a settlement or proving your case before a jury of your peers, and supporting and communicating with you every step of the way.

Let us present an indisputable argument of your wrongful death claim and use our expertise to prove and present your evidence to help you win your wrongful death suit. Speak to one of our expert wrongful death attorneys today at (314) 500-HURT or online.