How to Improve Your Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit

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No one ever wants to be in the position of having to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, there are cases in which an individual or entity engages in negligence that costs the life of the victim. Eligible survivors have the right to seek compensation for a variety of losses.

With the assistance of an experienced wrongful death lawyer, you can make the strongest possible case for the highest amount of damages available under the law. The Law Office of Taylor S. Braithwaite is here to help your family seek justice.

What Must Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

It’s important to first understand what the plaintiff must prove to prevail in a wrongful death case.

The plaintiff has the burden of establishing the following elements:

Duty of care

This means that the defendant owed the deceased victim a duty to behave in a reasonably safe manner under the circumstances. For instance, a driver should obey traffic laws, adjust driving behavior to environmental changes like inclement weather, and ensure his or her vehicle is safe to drive.


Next, the plaintiff has to show that the defendant somehow breached the duty of care. A breach can happen by negligently doing, or not doing, something. Driving drunk is an example of an action that violates the duty of care.


There must be a causal link between the breach of duty and the victim’s death. It must be demonstrated that the death would not have happened except for the breach and that the breach was the proximate cause of death and not just a contributing factor. Causation can be more complicated when multiple defendants and events are involved, but an attorney can assist.


Lastly, the plaintiff must provide evidence of the damages that the victim and survivors suffered due to the wrongful death. These include not only damages and losses such as the victim’s medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, and lost wages the victim would have earned had he or she lived, but also compensation for the victim’s conscious pain and suffering experienced by the victim between the injury and their death.

Improving Your Chances of Winning a Wrongful Death Suit

Every wrongful death lawsuit must be considered on its merits and facts. While nobody can guarantee that you will prevail in your lawsuit, there are a few ways to strengthen your case:

Availability of evidence

Well-documented lawsuits, in which the facts can be demonstrated by clear evidence, have a higher chance of winning. However, some cases have more available evidence than others. For instance, one fatal drunk driving crash may have been recorded on a dash cam, while another was not. One accident may have had several witnesses while another had none.

An attorney will review the facts surrounding the case and acquire every piece of evidence available to build a case. If there was no dash cam footage of the car wreck, there may be surveillance cameras in the area that recorded it.

If lay witnesses weren’t available, an expert witness could analyze the crash scene and develop an accident reconstruction that demonstrates the defendant’s liability. Once a lawsuit is filed, your wrongful death lawyer will use various tools to obtain evidence from those who have it.

Strength of evidence

Having evidence of a fatal accident is a great first start, but it has to be compelling enough to win over a jury. An abundance of low-quality or weak evidence doesn’t do much to help the plaintiff.

Evidence in a wrongful death claim can be strengthened in at least a couple of ways: first, by ensuring that the rules of evidence are followed. Not everything is permissible or relevant in court so an attorney should guide you to make sure the evidence abides by the rules. The other side of this is using the rules to exclude questionable evidence that the defendant may try to introduce.

A second way to strengthen the evidence is to corroborate it. Perhaps there were several witnesses to the accident, all of whom can testify in court or at a deposition. A medical doctor can explain the victim’s injuries before death, which can corroborate the accident reconstructionist’s explanation for how the defendant caused the death. Your attorney will work where possible to enhance the evidence.

Understanding the law

This is arguably the top reason to retain an experienced wrongful death lawyer. Your attorney will know how to win a wrongful death lawsuit – meaning, the elements that must be proven, what sort of evidence should be gathered, and how to effectively use lay and expert witness testimony. But your attorney should also know the law. If your lawyer has never tried a wrongful death case, you should reconsider retaining him or her.

Attorney Taylor Braithwaite understands not only South Carolina’s wrongful death statutes but also the various rules that govern civil lawsuits in general. These include the rules of evidence, rules of civil procedure (which control various aspects like court filings, service, motions, and notices), discovery rules (which are used to exchange evidence between the parties), and how to claim or prove certain types of damages unique to a wrongful death claim. Failure to know the law could irreparably damage your wrongful death lawsuit.

An individualized case strategy

No two wrongful death cases are alike, even if the fact patterns are nearly identical. When a client retains our firm, we develop a case strategy that is unique to that client. This is critical because, in some cases, attempting to settle with the at-fault party’s lawyers and insurance company may be a better option than going to trial. Mediation should always be explored even up to the trial date.

In other situations, however, the defendant and their lawyers and insurers will refuse to negotiate in good faith or make a fair settlement offer. In a case like this, it may make more sense to start preparing for trial much earlier by lining up witnesses and conducting exhaustive discovery.

A fair jury

Ultimately, you must convince the jury that the defendant was not only responsible for the victim’s death but that the defendant should pay the damages demanded. Selecting a jury is a delicate process and involves its own rules and strategies, so your lawyer will take this stage of the case seriously. Having a fair jury will enhance the likelihood of a positive verdict.

But we never assume that a jury will deliver a fair decision. That is why we keep the door open to mediation and settlement outside of court. If you receive a settlement offer, we can weigh it against the risk of going to trial so you can decide how to proceed.

Contact Our Aiken, South Carolina Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful death lawsuits can be fraught with grief, anger at the responsible party, and other emotions. That is why TSB Injury Law is here to represent survivors of victims who have passed away because of others’ negligence. Let our team guide you through this difficult time by presenting a strong case for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today online or at (803) 220-0000 to get started.


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