According to recent CDC statistics, “unintentional death” is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Unintentional deaths refer to any loss of life at the hands of another person or entity who did not have clear intent to cause harm, but whose actions still lead to death.
In more candid terms, this can be described as wrongful death. Wrongful death can feel like a murky part of the US law system, and it is crucial that you work with a wrongful death attorney if you are pursuing a wrongful death claim.
Before you make that judgment call, you may have some questions about what wrongful death lawyers can help you with. What types of cases constitute a wrongful death? What kinds of damages can you request compensation for?
Read on to learn everything you need to know about wrongful death claims and what a wrongful death lawyer can help you with.
What Qualifies as Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a complicated area of the legal sphere and what counts as wrongful death can change from case to case. In a broad sense, a death is considered wrongful if it resulted from the negligence of an individual or business. As a result, wrongful deaths are considered preventable.
To get an idea of what counts as wrongful death, we’ll go over some of the most common examples of wrongful death.
Fatal car accidents are one of the leading causes of wrongful death in America. However, not all car accident fatalities qualify as wrongful death.
In order to file a wrongful death claim, it will need to be proven that the other driver involved is at fault for the accident. For example, if a driver, pedestrian, or passenger died due to the distracted or intoxicated driving of another driver, this is considered wrongful death.
Although doctors, surgeons, and nurses go through rigorous training, it is not impossible for them to make a mistake. There are a number of ways in which medical malpractice can result in the wrongful death of a patient. These include misdiagnoses, prescribing the wrong medication, failing to perform the proper surgery, and so forth.
In all of these cases, you must be able to prove that the medical professional in question failed to act with reasonable care.
Employers owe their employees reasonable care when creating a safe work environment, encouraging safe workplace practices, and even scheduling their employees in ways that promote self-care. If your loved one died due to an unsafe or unhealthy workplace condition, you may have a wrongful death claim on your hands. You will need to be able to prove that the employer failed to provide, for example, reasonable accommodations or reasonable warning of unsafe conditions.
Not all wrongful death claims are the result of in-person negligence. One of the most common causes of wrongful death is the distribution of defective products.
Companies that sell goods on the market are required to test their products for functionality and safety. If they fail to do so–or notice a defect in testing but sell their products anyway – they are in violation of consumer rights. If that defective product leads to the death of a consumer who used that product as intended, this is considered wrongful death.
What Damages Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Filing a wrongful death claim does not make up for the loss of a loved one. It is, however, a way to alleviate some of the financial damage caused by that loss.
What kinds of damages can you include in your wrongful death claim? You can include:
- Funeral expenses
- Related outstanding medical bills
- Income lost due to the death of a loved one
- Emotional damages
Your chances of receiving the compensation you are owed go up substantially if you work with a wrongful death lawyer. Let’s take a look at some of the other reasons that you should not file a wrongful death claim without representation.
Why Should You Work With a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Lawyers specialize in specific aspects of the law because the law is incredibly complicated. This is why you will see car accident lawyers, truck accident lawyers, serious injury attorneys, and so forth. When it comes to wrongful death claims, the particularities of the law are just as complicated and a wrongful death lawyer can provide more assistance than you may think.
Determining Who Can File a Claim
Reading through California’s laws about who can file a wrongful death claim can be confusing. Generally, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the spouse, parent, or dependent of the deceased. However, this all depends on the nature of the relationship and more.
Proving Negligence of the Defendant
Negligence is key in a wrongful death claims. Proving negligence is not easy, especially when you have to rely on witness testimonials and crime scene recreations. Trying to prove negligence without a lawyer is never recommended.
Navigating the Defendant’s Legal Team
The defendant is almost certainly going to come equipped with a legal team of their own. Defense lawyers will use all sorts of tactics to try to trip you up or get you to sign over information that may hurt your case. It is important that you always have your own lawyer present when interacting with the defendant’s legal team.
Request the Help of a Wrongful Death Lawyer Today
If your loved one lost their life in a wrongful death, there is help for you and your loved ones. Our team is here to provide the legal representation you need to receive the compensation you deserve.
To schedule a free, no-obligation consultation with one of our wrongful death lawyers, contact us today.