Common Defense Strategies In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Whether you’re a close friend or family member of someone killed in an accident — or the person who caused it — you should know about common defense strategies used in wrongful death lawsuits. If you’re related to the victim, you should ask your attorney for information about the useful attack strategies. You should also ask about the strategies most commonly employed on behalf of defendants. If you’re the defendant, you need to know the same but in reverse. 

The most common revolves around statute of limitations laws. You can’t build a case whenever you like. Generally, the plaintiffs have only two or three years to plan and implement strategies for winning a wrongful death case. The exact time period is dependent on several factors, including state and region, and the nature of the accident or crime. Once the deadline has come and gone, it’s up to the defense team to argue that the case should be dismissed.

In cases where criminal intent was measured during an accident or crime during which someone was killed, a defense attorney might argue self-defense (or in limited circumstances, the plaintiffs might have reason to argue the victim had been engaged in self-defense acts when killed). 

Self-defense can be difficult to prove in court because the party must prove lethal aggression was justified under the circumstances. In criminal court, juries measure this proof beyond reasonable doubt. In civil court, the judge or jury need only find that the action was more likely reasonable than not. 

Sometimes, parties might have signed waivers. For example, you would likely assume risk and sign away liability when going whitewater rafting. That means you’re responsible for any accident that result from the activity, freeing the rafting guide or instructor from the same. 

Some state laws measure comparative negligence. This means that a plaintiff might not be entitled to the full value of any expenses resulting from an accident because the victim was partially responsible. Courts have the right to measure responsibility in percentages in such cases.