The Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death
In legal terms, a wrongful death is a result of a fatality caused by the careless, reckless or negligent actions of another person or entity. Most wrongful death claims involve accidents. However, they can be the result of other incidences such as a bad prescription medication, or defective automotive part, like faulty tires or braking systems. With a huge array of circumstances resulting in wrongful death cases, the most common ones are listed below. They include:
A high percentage of wrongful death claims involve fatalities from automobile accidents. Statistics maintained by the NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) indicate that approximately 40,000 people in the U.S. die of automobile accidents every year. Surviving family members often file claims and lawsuits to seek financial compensation from responsible parties that could include other motorists, commercial truck drivers, roadway government agencies, and automobile manufacturers.
Doctors, nurses, nurse’s aides and other medical staff and medical facilities have the obligation to provide every patient quality care. Unfortunate, medical malpractice occurs when doctors and other staff breach their duties of providing acceptable standards of care to the patient, causing injuries or death. Types of medical malpractice include:
- Birth injuries
- Surgical errors
- Anesthesia errors
- Prescribing the wrong medication
- Defective medical equipment
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis
- Nursing home neglect and/or abuse
When a loved one dies due to the negligence of a medical professional, the surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim to receive financial compensation.
Accidents that happen on the job are a common cause involved in wrongful death claims. This is because dangerous work environments around chemicals and machinery often expose employees to serious injuries and death. A workplace accident ending in a fatality can include an explosion, burn, fall, or long-term exposure to harmful chemicals, asbestos and other dangerous substances. Numerous deaths occur every year in dangerous environments including manufacturing plants, construction sites, and mining operations.
States enact product liability laws to hold manufacturers, distributors, retailers, and product designers accountable for making and selling dangerous products. This is because manufacturers have an obligation to the public to ensure that every product provided is safe. If there is a defect in the design, development, or manufacturing the product, and someone is killed due to the problem, all responsible parties are liable and can be held accountable in a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
Commercial Truck Accidents
The sheer size and weight of a large commercial truck involved in a serious accident usually results in a fatality. Many times, truckers and trucking companies are at fault of the accident and can be held legally liable for their failure to follow crucial regulations, maintain proper driving hours, properly load the truck, or drive within weight limits.
Individuals committing unlawful acts that caused the wrongful death of others can be held accountable in a criminal proceeding and in civil court through a wrongful death lawsuit. In fact, it is not require that the individual be convicted of their crime before the surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim. This is because district attorney’s handle criminal court proceedings, whereas civil lawsuits are generally file by the loved ones of the deceased.
Family members that have lost a loved one as a result of negligent actions of another are entitled to receive financial recompense from a wrongful death suit. The compensation obtained through an out-of-court settlement or an award at trial can be used for a variety of expenses including:
- Past hospital bills and medical expenses of the deceased
- Ongoing financial expenses
- Loss of companionship
- Recovery of lost past and future earnings
- Loss of inheritance
- Property damages
- Mental anguish, grief, pain and suffering
An attorney that specializes in wrongful death claims can protect the legal rights of the deceased individual’s surviving family members. A skilled lawyer will handle the entire process to ensure the survivors receive adequate compensation for their loss and grief.