It would be surprising if you’d never heard of awrongful death lawsuit before. Hopefully you are in a position where you’ve never had to file one before. Wrongful deaths are heartbreaking stories and make the news every year, and in many cases these suits are filed against people who already face criminal charges such as manslaughter.
You may wonder why a bereaved family would file a lawsuit when the person responsible for their loved one’s death is being held responsible in a criminal court. The fact is that even if the responsible person is found guilty of a crime related to the death, the family will not necessarily receive any kind of compensation unless they file the wrongful death suit. By filing a lawsuit, they may receive financial compensation to cover funeral expenses, the medical bills of their loved one, emotional suffering, and loss of the loved one’s future earnings. The families often need this compensation to continue their lives, especially if the loved one was the primary breadwinner.
Three types of wrongful death cases –
- Motor vehicle accident – Car accidents are by far the most common cause of wrongful death. According to the most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were more than 30,000 traffic fatalities in the U.S. in 2012. Although there are some cases where neither driver can be found responsible for the accident, in many cases the accidents occurred because someone was driving recklessly – because they were distracted, fatigued, intoxicated, inexperienced, or impaired in some other way – caused the wrongful death of someone in their own vehicle or the passengers of another vehicle in the crash.
- Pedestrian accident – Because they are unprotected when an accident occurs pedestrians are often seriously injured or killed when they’re struck by any kind of motor vehicle. In 2010, there were 4,280 pedestrian fatalities, averaging out to one death every two hours that year. Older adults and children are at a particularly high risk for this type of accident. Common factors for this type of accident include reckless driving, limited field of vision, and lack of pedestrian walkways.
- Medical malpractice – It is nice to imagine that doctors and other healthcare providers are infallible, but this is not always the case. Unfortunately highly trained medical professionals sometimes make mistakes. Sometimes these mistakes result in a patient’s death. In fact, the Journal of American Medical Association cites medical negligence as the third leading cause of death, behind heart disease and cancer. The most common allegation for medical malpractice is misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a health issue, followed by surgery errors or treatments errors.
If you believe you have a wrongful death case and are in need of legal advice or representation, pleasecontact us online or call us for a free consultation.