The Trial of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The trial of a wrongful death lawsuit is a like a snapshot or like a series of pictures.

The life of a victim in a wrongful death lawsuit must be presented through evidence such as testimony from friends, family, co-workers, neighbors, and perhaps those affiliated with religious occupations such as pastors, priests or spiritual advisors.

Documents and objects are a valuable resource for establishing what the deceased accident victim was like as an individual. These include photos, videos, bowling trophies, paychecks, Facebook pages, anniversary cards, birthday cards, wedding albums, tax returns, purchases of books and magazines, and even the family pet.

I would call this process of establishing the identity and individual essence or character of a deceased accident victim a sort of “reconstruction” of who they truly were.

None of this will even come close to having met and spent family time with the husband, wife, parent or child who passed away. Even with videotapes of a wedding, of a bar mitzvah, communion, or birth, or even with information about the invidual as explained by a surviving spouse, this character reconstruction can never compare to having met an individual in person, before that individual passed away.

Therefore, to the extent possible, your wrongful death lawyer must be in full possession of all the facts, and should have met with and interviewed the key people who were in the most frequent interactive contact with the victim, and also with those who were the most closely related.

There may be claimants who have never really come to know the person who passed away in the accident. Infants and young children who will grow up never remembering a hug from their mom, or who will grow up never tossing a ball around with their dad. Estranged children who would have visited more if only their arguments and differences of opinion could have been resolved, and now they will never have that opportunity for love and closure. These are losses which are special and important, as important as losing a person who you have come to know closely.

There will be an empty chair at a wedding, at a high school graduation. This silence is part of the loss and a skilled wrongful death lawyer will know how unique each case is and also how unique the resulting suffering of each individual loss is.

Simple acts of kindness and intimacy can better inform a jury about the relationship between husband and wife than a description of how often they went to dinner or to church. I recall a wife stating ” When I took a shower, I would stick my head out and he would shampoo my head”. This private revelation was very insightful.

The process, method and tactics involved in presenting the claims and testimony of the survivors is a lengthy subject and should have its own respective content.

The point is that a wrongful death lawyer needs to do his or her homework and sleuth out all the details, big and small, in order for the jury to feel as if they have come to know the accident victim.