Wrongful death lawsuits are filed on the behalf of someone who has died as a result of wrongful actions or another party's negligence. Typically, the only person who can file a wrongful death lawsuit is the executor of the decedent's estate, which is usually a family member. In this mini-guide you will learn information about some of the causes of wrongful deaths, compensation and how a wrongful death attorney may be able to assist you with the case.
What Are the Causes of Wrongful Death?
There are many different causes of wrongful death, from defective products to car accidents. Some of the most common causes include:
- Defective drugs. There are various reasons why a wrongful death may result from defective drugs. For example, pharmaceutical companies may fail to notify physicians, the FDA and consumers about dangerous side effects or defects in the drugs. A company that knowingly hides serious side effects may be liable for the consequences and when the effects of a defective drug lead to premature or wrongful death, a lawsuit may be filed.
- Defective products. It is the manufacturer's responsibility to provide consumers with safe and effective products. If a company fails to recognize a defect and/or fails to report the defect to consumers and retailers, it may be grounds for a lawsuit. In most situations, the product is removed before it can cause harm, but in some situations the defect may cause a death before the defect has been identified. In this situation, it may be grounds for a wrongful death suit.
- Medical malpractice. Although a medical malpractice lawsuit is somewhat different from a wrongful death lawsuit, they may be related. For example, if the mistake of a medical professional or a hospital misdiagnosis or fail to appropriately treat and death occurs as a result, it may be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. If the patient suffers mild to severe harm, but does not die as a result of the malpractice, a medical malpractice lawsuit may be filed.
- Accidents. Automobile accidents are one of the most common causes of wrongful death; however, there are several other types of accidents that may cause death as the result of negligence. For example; ATV accidents, bus accidents, truck/trailer accidents, boating accidents, slip and fall, and/or drowning.
Compensation for Wrongful Death
It is often difficult to think about compensation and lawsuits when a wrongful death has occurred. A wrongful death attorney understands compensation cannot bring your loved one back, but it may help with the financial devastation that often arises following a death. Compensation may help you with medical expenses, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses, and the deceased's pain and suffering prior to death. In some situations, compensation may also be awarded for problems and issues that affect family members, such as parental support, emotional pain, and loss of wages. A wrongful death attorney will be able to explain the process of a lawsuit as well as the regulations regarding compensation.
It is important to know that there is usually a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Depending on the state in which the lawsuit is filed and the exact circumstances of the case, the statute of limitations usually ranges from one to three years after the death in question. If you believe the death of someone you know occurred as the result of negligence, it is important to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible following the death to determine your rights and to learn more information about lawsuits and settlements.