Three Common Examples of Wrongful Death Cases

  • When someone you love — and depend on, emotionally and financially — dies, the loss may feel unbearable. When the death is unexpected and due to the negligence of another person, your grief may be compounded by shock, anger, and the stress of mounting debts.

     

    Funerals and burials are expensive. The death of a loved one may leave you without an income and benefits; and when the loss is sudden, you’ve had no time to prepare. While money will not replace your deceased spouse, child, or parent, a successful wrongful death case will ensure that their passing won’t leave you destitute.

     

    If you’ve lost a close family member and someone else is at fault, call an experienced wrongful death lawyer who can advise you about your case and how to proceed. Remember, all states have a statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits, so don’t wait too long.

     

    What Is Wrongful Death?

     

    A wrongful death case is similar to a personal injury suit in that both are based on the concept of negligence. The plaintiff must prove that the defendant had a “duty of care” to not cause harm, that they breached that duty, and that the plaintiff suffered damages as a result.

     

    But while a personal injury case is typically brought by the person who was hurt, a wrongful death lawsuit is initiated by a close family member — usually the spouse, parent, guardian, or child. The types of damages a plaintiff can seek for wrongful death include:

     

    • Medical bills
    • Funeral and burial costs
    • Loss of income and benefits
    • Attorney fees
    • Loss of love and companionship.

     

    Three Types of Wrongful Death Cases

     

    Car Accident

    In 2016, there were 37,461 traffic fatalities in the United States. Not surprisingly, motor vehicle collisions are, by far, the most common reason for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Speeding, impairment from alcohol or drugs, or distraction due to texting or other reasons are all negligent behaviors while driving.

     

    Big rigs are another danger on America’s roadways. They dwarf other vehicles and are likely to cause severe injury or death to occupants of cars they hit. Drivers may be liable for the same reasons as drivers of regular cars or if they are found in violation of commercial trucking safety regulations set by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. 

     

    Medical Malpractice

    When people go to a hospital or doctor’s office, they assume that they will be in the hands of highly trained providers who will take care of them to the best of their ability. If your loved one died due to the incompetence or negligence of a physician or other medical professional, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Common medical errors include:

     

    • Prescription errors
    • Misdiagnosis
    • Failure to get informed consent
    • Surgical injury
    • Anesthesia misuse
    • Birth trauma.

     

    Workplace Fatalities

    Certain types of occupations, such as construction and transportation, are inherently more dangerous than others. But employers have a duty to have safety protocols in place to minimize the likelihood of injury and death. When they fail, the family of the deceased may have a case for a wrongful death claim. OSHA reports that in 2017, 5,147 workers in the United States died on the job. Some common causes of worker death include:

     

    • Transportation accidents
    • Falls
    • Getting caught in or between machinery
    • Being struck by an object
    • Electrocution

    If your loved one died due to someone’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for your financial losses. Contact a lawyer as soon as you’re able to discuss the circumstances of your relative’s death and whether you are a good candidate for a wrongful death lawsuit. Many lawyers are paid on contingency, so you have nothing to lose.