Wrongful death cases are legal disputes that arise when a party is killed due to the wrongful action of another. This can include car accidents, drunk driving incidents, or defective products. The surviving family members have the right to file a claim against the party deemed responsible for the death in civil court, where they may receive financial compensation for their loss. There are several types of wrongful death cases recognized by law worldwide, each with its own unique circumstances and requirements.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases: The Basics
The United States legal code does not allow for criminal charges to be filed following an individual’s wrongful death. Criminal charges exist as punishments meant to deter future wrongdoers from committing similar atrocities, whereas civil litigation provides survivors with a means to seek restitution for their losses. Wrongful death cases can be brought against individuals, corporations, or other legal entities. There are four general types of wrongful death cases, which will be discussed here.
1) Negligence Cases
These occur when a party fails to take reasonable steps to avoid harming someone else, and as a result, that person dies. For example, if a driver runs a red light and causes a fatal car accident, they may be sued for negligence. It should be noted that not all wrongful death cases entitle the surviving or immediate family members to recover compensation. However, consulting an experienced wrongful lawyer increases the chances of winning a wrongful death suit and recovering compensation. Immediate or surviving family members must keep in mind that a wrongful death lawsuit can be a lengthy and complicated battle. They must do their part in providing proof of death, negligence of the offending party, and resulting losses they suffered due to the death of their loved one.
2) Product Liability Cases
These arise from injuries or deaths caused by defective products. The manufacturer or seller of the product may be held liable for damages if it can be shown that they knew or should have known about the defect. In addition, it is not just the manufacturer or seller that can be held responsible in the case. Anyone along the production line can theoretically be liable, such as the manufacturer, the component manufacturer or supplier, the design or packaging team, the wholesaler, or the retailer who sold the product to the customer.
3) Intentional Tort Cases
These are filed when someone is killed as a result of another person’s intentional actions, such as murder or assault. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed for situations like medical malpractice, occupational exposure to hazardous materials, death during a supervised activity, or an automobile or airplane accident. It is essential for surviving family members to be aware of the wrongful death statute in their respective states by consulting a wrongful death lawyer.
4) Wrongful Death Cases Filed on Behalf of Minors
In some states, the parents of a deceased minor child may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of case typically arises from an accident or incident that resulted in the child’s death, such as a car crash. Conversely, the surviving children can also file a wrongful death lawsuit or claim if the decedent is their parent. If they are minors, the court will appoint a guardian of the children for the purpose of making a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death cases are a complex area of law, and there are many factors that can affect the outcome of a case. If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence or recklessness, it is important to speak with an experienced attorney who can advise you on your best course of action.