A wrongful death occurs when a person loses their life due to the negligence or carelessness of another person or entity. The law considers negligence as the lack of reasonable care to prevent harm or injury to another person. These are common causes of wrongful death that occur frequently and all across the country.
Wrongful death lawsuits are filed by the immediate surviving family members. Each state has its own rules regarding who can claim compensation. In California, the immediate family (spouse, children or parents) and any other person who can prove that they are financially dependent on the deceased can claim damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. This claim must be filed within two years of the wrongful death.
Frequent causes of wrongful death tend to be medical malpractice. It occurs when a physician or hospital does not provide an accepted standard of care. It is assumed that a health care provider must provide proper diagnosis, treatment and prescription. However, even the smallest error in diagnosis (or the failure to diagnose) and treatment may result in death. Extreme cases can also extend to surgical or anesthesia errors. Other common medical malpractice errors include:
- Birth injuries
- Defective medical equipment
- Neglect or abuse
- Wrong medication
The death of a loved one due to medical malpractice can be especially traumatic. This is because medical practitioners are trusted to provide a standard of care and treatment. Medical errors resulting in wrongful deaths are completely preventable. If this is proven (along with negligence) the family of the deceased can recover damages to compensate for their loss.
Airplane crashes are another tragic accident that falls under causes of wrongful death. They can occur due to a pilot's negligence, defective parts or poorly designed airlines. A wrongful death lawsuit caused by airplane accidents are generally more complex. This is because there are many aspects and liable parties to consider. Families of the victims usually sue the airline company for the crash. If the crash was caused by a negligent pilot, the pilot can be sued along with the airline (for negligent hiring, training and supervision). Manufacturers and retailers are also held liable for defective parts or aircraft’s. If the crash has been caused by improper maintenance of a malfunctioning part, the maintenance crews can also be held responsible.
Motor vehicles are major causes of wrongful death. The collisions are caused by distracted or reckless drivers. Despite a considerable amount of awareness, drunk driving continues to be one of the major causes of accidents on the road. The driver's judgment can also be impaired due to distraction or unsafe weather conditions. The driver is expected to take reasonable care and caution to avoid the risk of accidents. Vehicular collisions can also be attributed to speeding and defective automobile parts. The most important aspects for drivers must be adhering to traffic regulations. Violating stop signals and traffic laws are the easiest ways to prove negligence.
Wrongful deaths can occur in a dangerous workplace. For instance, a factory worker may be fatally injured by hazardous machinery. Employers are required to keep the workplace free of hazards that may result in the death of an employee. Aside from ensuring the proper and safe functioning of their machines, employers must also provide sufficient training to employers using the machines. Other workplace accidents include falling debris and exposure to harmful chemicals. Transportation and construction jobs have a large risk of workplace fatalities. Safety regulations must be ensured by employers in such high-risk spaces.
Like medical malpractice cases, causes of wrongful death caused by nursing homes are due to the negligence of health care providers. It occurs when proper care and treatment is not ensured by the staff. The facility is also held responsible for death due to neglect. It is the nursing home's responsibility to hire a sufficient number of trained and trusted health care providers. Nursing homes are also notorious for the intentional abuse of patients. Most patients subjected to neglect or abuse are the ones that are unable to complain.
One of the most common symptoms of neglect is death due to bedsores. This is easily prevented by regular checks. Early detection of a bedsore can prevent its development and minimize the damage and harm caused to the patient. By re-adjusting the position or turning them over, the pressure on bedsores can be relieved. Additional care may be required for patients who cannot move by themselves.
Unfortunately, vehicular collisions are almost always fatal to pedestrians. This is because there is no kind of protection to pedestrians facing head-on collisions. Pedestrians crossing roads are most susceptible to crashes. Running a red light or breaking traffic rules is usually the source of negligent behavior. Pedestrians are also often not visible to distracted drivers.
Some drivers may argue that the pedestrian was also partially responsible for the accident. However, if the driver is even partially to blame, the court holds the driver accountable for the wrongful death. It is extremely rare for a driver to be completely blameless in a wrongful death resulting from a vehicle collision.
Wrongful deaths resulting from unlawful criminal acts can be tried in a criminal or civil proceedings. This includes intentional harm and murder. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action lawsuit that is often resolved quickly. It is also not necessary for the defendant to be convicted in a criminal proceeding to claim damages in a civil lawsuit.
If your loved one was involved in a wrongful death due to any of the above causes, you can file a lawsuit against the responsible party. Fighting a wrongful death lawsuit can be a complicated legal process. Every state has its own regulations for wrongful death. It is important to find an experienced wrongful death lawyer in your state.
The various aspects of a wrongful death must be considered before filing a claim. Professional legal help is required to review your unique case and assess your right to claim for damages. The team of attorneys at Nehora Law can navigate California's complex wrongful death laws. Consult one of our experienced lawyers to guide through the legal proceedings and reach a fair settlement.