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What is Wrongful Death? Definition, Types and Examples

When your loved one passes away, it is unbearably painful to cope with the sudden loss and do what you can to move on. Not knowing why your loved one died, especially if it was as a result of another’s wrongful actions, can make recovery feel impossible.

Today, we help you understand what wrongful death is and what to do when it happens.

What Qualifies to Be a Wrongful Death?

If you think that the death of someone near and dear to you was a wrongful death, we are here to help.

To qualify as a wrongful death, your death lawyer must prove that someone else’s negligence or misconduct were responsible for the accident that caused the death.

Here are the four requirements you have to meet to prove it was a wrongful death:

  • Negligence – this includes the defendant’s careless or reckless actions
  • Breach of duty – if the defendant had a duty to your loved one that they did not fulfill
  • Causation – how the defendant’s negligence caused the wrongful death of your loved one
  • Damages – the number or monetary value of damages from the defendant’s negligence

Who Can File for Wrongful Death?

You can file a wrongful death lawsuit if you are an immediate family member of the person who died. Different states have different laws about the requirements for a wrongful death suit.

But first of all, the process is tricky and has a lot of steps. Not to mention, the immense grief you have to deal with after a wrongful death worsens if you have to file a wrongful death claim alone.

A wrongful death attorney can help you with all the particulars so that you have support through the entire process.

What are the Common Examples of Wrongful Death?

There were almost 200 thousand injury-related deaths in 2014.

That’s a lot of wrongful death cases. If you struggle to know if your loved one’s death was a result of someone else’s carelessness, we are here to help.

Below we have the most common types of wrongful death.

Vehicular Accidents

Have you ever been in a car accident? Have you ever seen someone else’s car crash?

If you have, then you know how terrifying it is. And if you are here today, you know how grateful you are to have survived.

The upsetting fact is that not everyone makes it out alive.

Some people sustain mild or severe injuries from personal car crashes or from commercial vehicle accidents. And others pass away from those injuries, either on the scene or later on.

This type of injury, or even wrongful death, can be because of:

  • Reckless drivers
  • Negligent passengers
  • Errors
  • Vehicle manufacturers’ faulty products

Motorcycle or Bicycle Accidents

Some drivers do not pay attention to bike lanes. They also might look down at their phone, stereo or daydream while they are driving.

There are a lot of ways drivers can distract themselves. And a lot of times, that results in a motorcycle or bicycle accident.

Cars can swerve into bike lanes or rear-end a motorcyclist because of their negligence. Sometimes that results in a wrongful death.

Pedestrian Accidents

Similar to how some drivers don’t pay attention to bike lanes, others do not keep their eyes out for crosswalks or busy pedestrian areas.

There are many examples of when a pedestrian accident or wrongful death happens. A common one, though, is when a car mows down someone in a crosswalk of a busy intersection.

Pedestrian accidents also happen a lot around school zones.

Premise Liability Accidents

Premise liability accidents are just what they sound like. They happen when your loved one has an accident on a property that someone else owns. These might occur if someone slips or falls on this property.

Someone also may have hit your family member against or with an object at the premises.

All property owners are responsible for maintaining a hazard-free environment.

Medical Malpractice

You and your loved ones trust your medical professionals to keep you safe.

Unfortunately, many people have to file for wrongful death medical malpractice settlements anyways.

Medical malpractice happens when a medical provider is negligent or makes a drastic error. That negligence leads to patient harm or even death. These instances can include:

  • A missed diagnosis
  • Misdiagnoses
  • Errors during surgery
  • Medication errors

Accidental Poisoning

Accidental Poisoning

Do you remember those 200 thousand wrongful deaths in 2014? Almost 52 thousand of them were because of poisoning.

Not all of these cases qualify as wrongful death. But a wrongful death law firm that you trust can help you figure it out.

Medical Overdoses

We just talked about accidental poisonings. But you might not realize that medical overdoses are also the culprit sometimes.

That is partly because of medical professionals who prescribe prescription medications to people who end up with poisoning from their medicine.

Prescribed narcotics are an example of this. In fact, these types of medical overdoses are rising all the time.

Drowning or Boating Accidents

When you go out for a hot summer weekend on a boating trip, you expect to have a leisurely time cooling down and relaxing.

Sadly, though, this is not always the end result.

It is the same type of situation when you head to your local country club or public pool.

Some people drown in a private backyard and others in their city pool. Drowning accidents can happen at your aunt’s home or best friend’s summer vacation spot.

No matter where it happens, some owners do not appropriately secure their bodies of water. The same goes for the person driving a boat. If they are negligent or do not have safety devices, they might harm your loved one or cause their death. 

Workplace Accidents

If your family member slips, falls or someone hurts them at work, they can file for workers’ compensation.

Sometimes, though, this type of workplace accident leads to death. They might die right after the accident or from related complications in the future.

Workplace Illnesses

You’ve heard about workplace accidents. But do not overlook workplace illnesses.

Some employers are liable for illnesses that happen because of unsafe working conditions in their establishment.

How Much is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If your loved one dies, you have a lot to take care of. First, you have to take care of yourself. You have to heal from the trauma. But you also have to figure out what to do next, monetarily and legally.

Wrongful death settlements vary depending on your case and the state it happened in.

But if you worry about how much you have to pay for your attorney, you have options.

Most personal injury and wrongful death lawyers operate on a contingency fee basis. That means you only have to pay them a percentage of your settlement if they win your case.

Here at The Sandel Law Firm, we are here to support you through the stressful process if you are dealing with wrongful death. We have insider knowledge to win your case so you can focus on healing.

Call now for a free consultation at (844) 763-5529 or click here to contact us.

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