Losing a spouse, child, parent, or any loved one is always a difficult experience for individuals to handle. These unfortunate instances are even more painful and heartbreaking when the death was caused by someone’s negligence or intentional behaviors. While nothing can fill the void that is created by the death of a loved one, filing a wrongful death lawsuit is an option to help ease financial burdens that were created and obtain some type of legal justice.
What is a Wrongful Death Case?
A wrongful death case is a civil action that a family member or personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate can take to the court system, and these types of cases sometimes occur following a criminal trial. Wrongful death cases typically involve much of the same evidence that is used for the criminal trial, but civil actions require a lower standard of proof in order to find someone negligent.
One of the most notorious instances of this involved O.J. Simpson. In 1994, Simpson was found not guilty for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman because the prosecution failed to prove his guilt of the crime beyond a reasonable doubt. However, Simpson later faced a civil wrongful death suit brought by the families of the victims. The evidence presented in the criminal case was not strong enough to secure a murder conviction, but it was sufficient to hold him liable for wrongful death.
What are Some Common Patterns Seen with Wrongful Death Claims?
Accidents that result in fatal injuries are continuously occurring, which means that wrongful death claims can arise from many different situations. From a child choking on a toy that broke to an adult dying after eating contaminated food, wrongful death claims can be filed for an array of instances where death resulted from someone else’s negligence or intentional behavior.
However, while the possibilities are endless, there are several causes of wrongful death claims that are commonly seen within the legal system. A few examples include:
- Automobile accidents – As one of the leading causes of death in the United States, it should come as no surprise that automobile accidents frequently lead to wrongful death claims. Family members or loved ones can seek compensation if the death was the result of drunk driving, distracted driving, aggressive behavior on the road, road construction, or any other type of negligent behavior.
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents – We are living in an age where it seems like too many drivers are distracted while operating a vehicle. Unfortunately, individuals on bikes and pedestrians often end up paying the price for this carelessness.
- Medical malpractice – Medical malpractice occurs when an individual dies because the expected standard of care was not administered. Whether a proper medical history was not recorded prior to administering medication or the wrong surgery was performed on a patient, family members or loved ones have every right to pursue wrongful death claims for these types of devastating instances.
- Product liability – Product liability occurs when death is caused by a product that was defectively designed, defectively manufactured, or lacking adequate instructions or warnings. Since these types of instances can and should be prevented, wrongful death claims are one way to obtain justice for the negligence that occurred.
- Workplace accidents – Wrongful death claims are also commonly seen for workplace accidents that result in death, from issues such as dangerous work conditions or faulty equipment.
- Intentional acts – While many lawsuits are filed in regards to “accidents” or negligent behavior, wrongful death claims can also be filed because of criminal acts that were committed intentionally. Regardless of the verdict in a criminal case, a civil case can help family members or loved ones receive financial compensation for their loss.
What Damages Can be Compensated in a Wrongful Death Claim?
No two wrongful death lawsuits are exactly the same, but many of the same types of damages are experienced by family members and loved ones after they lose someone tragically. Some of the potential damages in a wrongful death claim include:
- Any medical costs associated with the deceased individual’s injury
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of current and expected income
- Loss of companionship and love
- Loss of consortium
- Pain and suffering associated with the accident and death
If you have lost a family member or loved one and believe you have a wrongful death case, Ross Feller Casey is here to help. Recognized as the leading catastrophic injury law firm throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey, our team of exceptional attorneys has a proven track record of legal successes, recovering over $600 million for clients over the last three years alone. Contact Ross Feller Casey today for a free evaluation of your case.