At first, it might seem like overkill (no pun intended) to use the phrase “wrongful death.” What death isn’t wrong? Is there such thing as a “right” death? Well, the phrase “wrongful death” doesn’t attempt to assess a redundant, negative connotation on the notion of death—rather, it has to do with the issue of fault and liability in connection with the death.
A wrongful death is a death that was caused by someone else—typically by their negligence or wrongful actions. Technically, a wrongful death can also be used to described a murder, but the phrase is typically reserved for civil suits in which the defendant may not be charged and prosecuted. A wrongful death can be a personal injury incident gone horribly wrong. For example, if someone rear-ends someone else on the freeway, and the victim is injured, we have ourselves a regular automobile accident-type personal injury case. However, if the victim dies from the injuries he/she sustained in the crash, then the case becomes a wrongful death suit and the driver who rear-ended the car in front of them becomes the defendant in the civil suit, being held responsible and liable for the death that wouldn’t have occurred were it not for their negligence.
Another type of wrongful death—and one that is quite common—stems from issues of medical malpractice. For example, a regular medical malpractice case might involve a doctor prescribing a medication that the patient is allergic to. A medical malpractice wrongful death case would arise if a doctor made a decision (like prescribing the wrong type of medication) and, as a result, the patient died.
Clearly, there are many examples of wrongful deaths. As such, there are a myriad of people who can be on the defending end of a wrongful death suit. Examples of these people/companies are, but are not necessarily limited to, doctors, other drivers, car manufacturers, tire manufacturers, road designers, etc. Basically, anyone who can be linked to the cause of someone’s death, via negligence in design, construction, or action, can be held liable for a “wrongful” death.
Obviously, if someone dies a “wrongful death,” they won’t be around to sue. However, their family members can sue on their behalf. If the person was in their prime money-making age, and the family was dependent on the income, the family may very well sue the defendant for the amount of money the person would have made over the rest of their natural life were it not cut short. In addition to loss of income, people suing for a wrongful death can also seek compensation for funeral expenses, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. If the wrongful death caused tremendous anguish for the family, they can sue for compensation for that as well.
For more information on wrongful death issues, or for advice on any potential or current personal injury case, don’t hesitate to contact us for a free consultation. You may reach us at 561-266-9191 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.