Losing a loved one is a tragic and devastating experience made even worse if the death was caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. It’s natural to want to hold someone accountable and prevent others from suffering the same fate. You may have heard of wrongful death lawsuits and want to know more about what they are. In this blog post, we’ll go through common types of wrongful death lawsuits and how they work.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
While no amount of money can replace your loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit seeks monetary compensation for the losses associated with the victim’s death caused by the negligent, reckless or violent behavior of another person or entity. Wrongful death claims are civil actions, usually filed by surviving family members. An experienced New Jersey wrongful death attorney can represent you and your family in a wrongful death claim.
Common Types of Wrongful Death
According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of the death in the United States claiming over 170,000 lives every year. While there are many scenarios in which negligent actions can lead to someone’s death from an accident or illness, some of the most common types of wrongful death include:
More than 37,000 people were killed in car or truck accidents last year. Negligent driving, such as drunk driving, distracted driving or failure to follow traffic signs or signals, is often a cause of those accidents. In truck accidents, which tend to be more severe and more fatal, truck drivers and trucking companies are often the subject of a wrongful death claim.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents
Medical malpractice takes place when a patient is injured because of an error or negligence committed by a medical provider. Common examples of medical malpractice leading to death are a misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis, failure to treat, prescription drug errors, surgical mistakes and injuries sustained by mother or child during birth.
Premise Liability Accidents
Property owners have a duty to maintain their property in a safe manner and can be liable for if accidents or injuries happen on their premises or property. Accidents involving slips, trips or falls leading to death are common examples of the premises liability type of wrongful death lawsuit.
Accidental Overdoses and Poisonings
This type of wrongful death lawsuit can refer to prescription medications or illegal drugs. A famous example is a wrongful death lawsuit filed after the deaths of Phil Hartman, a popular comedian, and his wife. The family claimed that the prescription medication taken by Phil Hartman’s wife for mild depression caused her to experience a mental break so severe that she killed her husband and herself.
Boating or Drowning Accidents
Accidents around water are all too frequent, especially in the summer months. As in a premises liability case, property owners can be liable if they do not follow proper safety precautions to secure the pool or warn guests about hazards. Similarly, boat operators are responsible for driving and operating the vessel in a safe manner.
Workplace Illnesses and Accidents
An accident or illness in the workplace typically leads to a workers compensation claim for death benefits. However, it's possible in some cases to also file a wrongful death lawsuit against an equipment manufacturer, building owner or other entity that bears liability in a workplace accident.
Keep in mind that wrongful death lawsuits are civil matters, not a criminal case. The end result of a successful wrongful death lawsuit is a monetary award paid by the defendant. Because a wrongful death claim is a civil matter, not a criminal one, a defendant can be both charged criminally AND be sued for wrongful death. O.J. Simpson is the most common example of this scenario. While he was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife and friend, he was found liable in a wrongful death lawsuit and ordered to pay tens of millions of dollars.
You deserve to recover compensation for your loss.
If your loved one died in an accident caused by negligence, you have the right to be compensated for your losses. Along with your grief, you may be dealing with severe financial strain as the losses and expenses mount. Don’t go it alone. Our compassionate wrongful death attorneys will pursue the maximum award for your damages.
We offer free, confidential legal consultations to understand what happened and advise you of your options. If you choose to move forward, we work on a contingency basis which means that we only get paid if and when you receive a settlement. Many of our clients feel a sense of relief once they make that first phone call. Contact us today.