A wrongful death is defined as “a party acting carelessly, recklessly, or negligently and with a total disregard for an individual’s safety.” When these actions result in the death of an individual, it is classified as wrongful death. Although wrongful death cases are usually accidental, they can also include incidents in which the guilty party had intent to kill or harm. There is an array of circumstances that can result in a wrongful death, but the following are some of the most common causes.
Car accidents are among the most common causes of wrongful death claims and these types of incidents can happen in multiple ways. According to statistics released by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, approximately 40,000 are killed annually in the United States from car accidents. Not only can a driver of another vehicle be the cause of a wrongful death incident, but claims can also be filed against automotive manufacturing companies for faulty seats, brakes, tires and other parts on a car that might fail.
A product may be defective if an error was made during the designing, manufacturing, labeling or distributing stage. If someone is killed from use of a product that has a defective design or faulty manufacturing process, then one of their family members can possibly file a wrongful death claim. Additionally, sufficient warnings of potential injury or death linked to use of a product should be unmistakably stated to consumers. Neglecting to adequately do so may result in a cause of action for a wrongful death claim.
Medical malpractice is, unfortunately, a common cause of wrongful death. Medical malpractice happens when a medical professional (such as a doctor, surgeon, nurse, or other health care provider) neglects to deliver adequate medical care to a patient. Wrongful death from medical malpractice occurs when this medical mistake is fatal. According to the United States Department of Justice, more than 90 percent of medical malpractice claims resulted in permanent, lifelong injuries or wrongful death.
Another major cause of wrongful death is workplace accidents. Anyone can be fatally injured in an accident at the workplace. Such accidents include explosions, slip and falls, malfunctioning equipment, burns, and so on. Worksites that are commonly known for wrongful death include manufacturing plants, construction sites, and mining locations, but fatal accidents can occur anywhere—even in an office setting. Wrongful death claims can be filed against an employer if a worker dies as a result of an accident at work or for disregard for a worker’s safety. All businesses have a responsibility to meet the standards enforced by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.
An individual who commits an unlawful act that results in the wrongful death of another is subject to both civil law and criminal proceedings. The individual does not have to be convicted in criminal court proceedings prior to a civil wrongful death claim being filed. Criminal court proceedings are prosecuted by the state, while civil law lawsuits are usually filed by the victim’s loved ones.
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Nothing above is meant to provide financial or legal advice. You should meet with appropriate professionals for such services.