Common Types of Wrongful Death


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Few things in life are as tragic as a death which could have been avoided. If the incident can be traced back to negligence on the part of an individual or a business, the death is deemed wrongful and the negligent party is subject to paying damages. But while determining criminal culpability is left to the state, sorting out civil liability requires someone to seek out an attorney from the private sector who can help them file a lawsuit.

When it comes to the wrongful death cases handled by most personal injury lawyers, the circumstances surrounding these tragedies usually involve the following:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

Not everyone is in the hospital, on a dangerous job site, handling poorly made products or living inside poorly maintained property. However, just about everyone is on or near a major road at some point every day of their lives, typically behind the wheel or riding as a passenger. Therefore, from a statistical point-of-view, it’s easy to see why motor vehicle accidents make up the overwhelming majority of wrongful death cases. Lawyers specializing in a personal injury like Mike Pines make no secret about how often they’re called upon to assist in seeking damages for wrongful deaths involving motor vehicles. While automobiles are safer than ever and the rate of fatal car crashes has dropped in recent years, the sheer number of people who continue to depend on motor vehicle transportation on a daily basis means it’s likely motor vehicle accidents will continue to take up the bulk of wrongful death cases.

Medical Malpractice

It’s a shocking statistic which seems too horrible to believe but which is unfortunately all too true: medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the United States, beat only by heart disease and cancer. Medical malpractice is, therefore, a very common cause of wrongful death in the U.S but also elsewhere in the world. The relatives of those who have died as a result of a healthcare professional’s negligence are entitled to compensation. It will never replace a lost loved one, but it may at the very least make up for their absence as a breadwinner or provide the financial stability which was lost during the initial ordeal.

Workplace Accidents

While we typically associate workplace wrongful deaths as involving heavy machinery and runaway mayhem on an industrial scale, these aren’t the only job sites where deadly accidents can occur. A poorly designed office can become a fatal trap in the event of a fire, meanwhile, glaring security flaws can put a cashier in harm’s way. If a loved one is killed on the job, document everything and don’t take their employer’s word on anything without first consulting an attorney. This is true whether they were working on an oil rig or at a Walgreens.

Premises Liability

Poorly maintained property or property which is not adequately enclosed or otherwise secured can often lead to serious injury and wrongful death. For instance, a crumbling building facade can fall on passersby and crush them. A pool which is not surrounded by a locked fence can become a temptation for small children who later drown. These and other examples highlight how a failure to adequately safeguard premises against likely risks to life and limb can leave a property owner on the hook for thousands or millions in damages.

Product Liability

Lastly, one of the most common causes of wrongful death is poorly designed or misassembled products. Whether it’s toddlers choking to death on small parts or grownups meeting their demise via ill-constructed equipment, manufacturers are liable if their products present obvious risks which lead to death.

Death is always tragic, but a death which could have been avoided if negligence hadn’t occurred is especially difficult to move past. The what-ifs are endless and the heartbreak never goes away. Although at best only a cold comfort, seeking damages for a wrongful death is one way to seek some sort of balance, whether it’s a death involving one of the more common situations listed above or one caused by something uniquely tragic but avoidable just the same.