Wrongful death law extends legal rights and protections to the beneficiaries and dependents of victims who have died as a result of another party’s negligence, intentional actions, or strict liability. Wrongful death law falls under the broad category of law known as tort, or personal injury, law. Personal injury law protects the legal interests of those parties who have suffered damages that are generally physical in nature but may also relate to property damage.
Types of Wrongful Death
Regardless of the circumstances under which they occurred, all of the various types of wrongful death are defined by the fact that they occur through the fault or negligence of another party. Types of wrongful deaths range in cause from medical error to automobile accidents, product malfunction, or failure to warn consumers.
There are several types of legal cases that are covered under personal injury and wrongful death law. Though this list is not all-inclusive, some of the major types of wrongful death law cases include:
- slip and fall (premise) injury
- car or other vehicle accidents
- nursing home abuse
- medical malpractice
- work-related injury
- defective drug injury
- dog bite injury
- exposure to toxic materials
- defective product injuries
Due to Medical Malpractice
The types of wrongful death that are medically-related include deaths resulting from medical malpractice, medical errors, and failure to diagnose a disease or condition. These types of wrongful death depend upon demonstrating that the medical professional(s) possessed the knowledge and ability necessary to prevent the patient from dying. For instance, among these types of wrongful death, one of the more prevalent is the failure to diagnose. If a physician has all of the information necessary to make a diagnosis and fails to do so in time to reasonably expect to save the life of the patient, the physician may be liable for the death of the patient.
Other types of wrongful death include work-related incidents, such as those that occur on construction sites or in factory work. These types of wrongful deaths often occur because of the employer’s failure to protect workers through the proper safety measures. There are different types of wrongful deaths that are work-related. In some cases, the worker dies as the result of an accident in the workplace, while some of these types of wrongful deaths are caused by job site exposure to toxins or substances such as asbestos.
There are many other types of wrongful deaths, and to some extent, the parameters cases that may be filed are dependent upon the state in which the incident occurred. All types of wrongful deaths leave loved ones grieving the loss of the victim, and often financially the worse for wear. Attorneys who have experience representing the plaintiffs in various types of wrongful death suits may be able to help determine whether or not you have a viable case and can advise you on your legal options.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the decedent was killed as a result of another party’s negligence or other liability. To be successful, the plaintiff(s) – the dependents and beneficiaries- in a wrongful death lawsuit must prove that the decedent’s death was caused (in whole or part) by the conduct of the defendant who is liable for all damages related to the victim’s death.
When the judgment in a wrongful death law case favors the plaintiff, they can be eligible to receive compensation for all losses related to the victim’s death. These compensatory damages may include but are not limited to: medical expenses, loss of income or earning potential, and psychological pain and suffering. When the causes of a victim’s wrongful death were malicious or grossly negligent, wrongful death law provides that punitive damages might be sought. Punitive damages are awarded under wrongful death law to punish the offender and deter others from similar conduct.
Wrongful Death Laws
Every state has their own wrongful death law or set of laws which governs these civil personal injury cases. In certain cases, there are federal laws that govern wrongful death law cases such as work-related railroad employee deaths and the like. Each state creates its own wrongful death laws that outline: who is eligible to file wrongful death claims, the elements of a case that must be proved, what compensation these plaintiffs may be entitled to, and a number of other specifics.
Each state’s wrongful death law also indicates the time in which a claimant can legally file a wrongful death lawsuit. This wrongful death law provision is known as the statute of limitations and can vary based on jurisdiction and case specifics. In cases involving children, the statute of limitations may be extended. A statute of limitations may also be extended in cases where the cause of death was not known for a significant period of time.
If a loved one has died as a result of another party’s negligence, intentional actions, or strict liability, you may wish to contact a qualified and experienced wrongful death law expert who can evaluate your case to determine your rights and options in a case.