The death of a loved one is always hard to overcome, especially when the cause is negligence or a fatal accident.
What is a Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death case can occur when someone you love has passed away because of someone else’s negligence, or even because of someone else’s intentional act of misconduct. Obviously these are very unfortunate circumstances in which you’ve lost a loved one. However, an experienced lawyer can help you bring justice to the situation. A wrongful death lawsuit may even offer some peace of mind in the form of compensation for the person’s death. We know that this will never make up for your loss, but it may offer some justice and peace of mind after the events occur.
Wrongful death claims can only be filed if a person has a valid personal injury claim before their death. This basically means that the reason for their passing must be connected to the injuries they sustained from whatever injury occurred as the result of someone else’s negligence or intentional action.
The Different Categories of Wrongful Death Cases
As stated, wrongful death cases can follow any type of personal injury case. This can include personal injury situations such as:
- Auto accidents
- Commercial truck accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace injuries/accidents
- Defective products
Wrongful death cases fall into two categories based on cause: negligence and intentional action.
Wrongful Death Caused by Negligence
Negligence includes things like car accidents or slips and falls. These are things that occur because of someone else’s negligence. In a car accident, negligence could look like texting while driving or speeding. In a slip and fall, it could be as little as forgetting to clean up a spill or not clearing the sidewalks of ice in the winter. These are all things that people can be sued for if an injury, or in this case death, occurs.
Wrongful Death Caused by Intentional Action
Intentional action means that someone dies because of someone’s specific action against them, usually with intent to harm or even kill. These cases include things like homicide. These cases go hand in hand with criminal cases. A person can be faced with two separate cases, the criminal case and the wrongful death civil case. On average, there are about 19,510 homicides each year. This is less than total deaths caused by negligence, but still plenty prevalent.
According to the Center for Disease Control, in 2017 there were 169,936 unintentional deaths, 36,338 of which were from unintentional falls and 40,231 were from motor vehicle or traffic accidents. Motor vehicle deaths are the leading cause of unintentional deaths, but falls are close behind. These falls often occur in the workplace, but can also occur in grocery stores or any other type of business. Falls are so deadly as they can often result in head injuries or traumatic brain injury, which can be deadly if not treated right away.
Medical malpractice also counts for a large portion of unintentional deaths. This can include things like incorrect diagnosis, incorrect prescription or incorrect dosage, surgical error, premature discharge, and more. Medical malpractice cases are especially tricky, but with the help of a good attorney, can be handled correctly and effectively.
Wrongful Death Damages
Economic damages refer to the monetary damages that can be claimed because of actual expenses that the victim incurred. This can include any type of medical bill, including hospital bills, bills from doctors visits, bills from physical and mental therapists, and any other medical attention they may have needed because of their accident. You can also collect damages for any wages they may have lost while they were injured.
Funeral expenses are another large bill that you will be able to collect damages for. Any expenses you or another party may have incurred while paying for the funeral are subject to reimbursement.
Non-economic damages refer to anything that can be collected that may not have an actual bill tied to it. This includes pain and suffering as well as loss of consortium. Basically these damages attempt to offer some compensation for any hardships that you may be going through because of the loss of your loved one. They may not make up for anything that you’ve lost, but provide support to you in the future so you can take time to grieve. Alongside this compensation will come with the feeling of justice that has come to the defendant.
Who Can Recover Wrongful Death Damages?
Wrongful death damages can be claimed by a surviving spouse, minor children, and sometimes adult children. If the death is one of a child, the lawsuit can be brought about by a parent. Whoever brings about the lawsuit is the person who receives the compensation. However, lawsuit compensation may be distributed among children or other family members as the suing party decides.
Contact a Lawyer
We know that this is a hard time in your life. After losing someone so important to you it might seem like there’s no were else to turn. However, the lawyers here at Sand Law are ready to help you find the justice that you deserve. Our years of experience with wrongful death lawsuits will be invaluable to you, as will the support of our team. If you’ve lost someone you love in a wrongful death accident, please contact us online or at 651-291-7263 for more information and a free case evaluation.