Wrongful death cases are a unique form of legal action that falls somewhere between murder and accidental death. What differentiates a wrongful death case, and what has to be proven for a wrongful death suit to be successful, is the defendant must have had a “duty of care” for the deceased victim. The culprit must have violated this responsibility by either failing to or refusing to comply. Also, the specific violation in question must be provably responsible for the death of the plaintiff. Here are 7 facts to know about wrongful death cases in our Justice System.
1. Car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in America. Whether caused by impaired drivers, distracted drivers, road construction, or irresponsible drivers, traffic fatalities often result in legal action. In fact, car accidents are the most common type of wrongful death cases.
2. Wrongful death statues allow for damages to be awarded compensating for the loss of future earnings as well as the emotional damage caused by the pain and suffering resulting from the loss of a loved one. Usually, only direct family members are assumed to have experienced pain and suffering great enough to result in being awarded damages, but extended family members can sometimes prove their suffering to be significant enough to receive compensation.
3. Doctors and nurses typically adhere to their duty of care for their patients. However, they sometimes make serious mistakes due to taking short cuts or failing to pay attention. When these mistakes result in the death of a patient a wrongful death suit may be filed.
4. Plane crashes are statistically insignificant happening less frequently than any other form of transportation accident. However, when they do occur, plane crashes often result in a significant loss of life. In such crashes, often times the pilot or the plane manufacturer can be held liable and a wrongful death suit can be filed.
5. Some jobs, such as coal mining, deep-sea fishing, or firefighting, are seemingly more dangerous than typical office jobs. While the more dangerous jobs may result in a greater number of on-the-job fatalities, even office jobs can cause the wrongful deaths of employees. Examples of this can be seen in cases where employees are worked to the point of exhaustion causing them to be involved in fatal car accidents.
6. Everyday products typically work the way they should, but when they don’t, the consequences can be disastrous. In the worst-case scenarios, defective products can result in the wrongful death of consumers. One notable recent example was seen in the hover-board craze where manufacturers were held liable after defective boards caught fire and resulted in the deaths of multiple people.
7. Pedestrian accidents are even more dangerous than typical car accidents. Pedestrians have no protection from the much larger and often times fast moving vehicles. These accidents are often the result of negligence, on the part of the pedestrian, driver, or even the city that designed the road. In the latter two scenarios, a wrongful death case is often warranted.
Nothing can fully compensate for the loss of a loved one. When the loss of that loved one was preventable, though, a wrongful death case may provide some consolation.