In pursuing a “wrongful death” action based on negligence, the Plaintiff has the burden of proving by a preponderance of the evidence that (1) there was a duty to protect the victim from the harm suffered, (2) that the negligent party breached that duty, (3) that the negligent act of the defendant was the proximate cause of the harm suffered (i.e., causation), and (4), that the victim died as a result. (In other injury cases, the Plaintiff must show duty, breach of duty, causation and damages.)
To prevail on the element of “causation“, the defendant must have been found to be liable where it appears that his negligence was the sole cause of the death complained of, or that his negligence put in operation other causal forces which were the direct, natural, and probable consequences of the defendant’s original act, or the intervening agency could reasonably have been forseen by the defendant as original wrongdoer. Stern v. Wyatt, 140 Ga. App. 704, 231 S.E.2d 519 (1976).
O.C.G.A. § 51-4-1(2) defines “homicide” as including “all cases in which the death of a human being results from a crime, from criminal or other negligence, or from property which has been defectively manufactured, whether or not as the result of negligence.”
Other negligence is the breach of duty owed to the deceased at the time the homicide occurs and may thus be slight, ordinary or gross negligence depending on the facts of the case which determine the duty owed to the deceased. Caskey v. Underwood, 89 Ga. App. 418 (1) , 79 S.E.2d 558 (1953).