There’s nothing remotely easy about losing a loved one. The emotional trauma and countless questions make it the darkest moment for most people’s lives. Still, while human beings are destined to die, not every instance of death is inevitable.
Every day around the world, people die because of the negligence of another party. When that occurs, it’s incumbent on the family of the departed to explore their options as far as a wrongful death lawsuit is concerned.
It’s difficult to pursue legal recourse while battling deep emotional distress caused by a loved one’s passing. But while the lawsuit will not bring them back, it’s important to bring closure, exact justice, and cushion those left behind from financial difficulties. Also, there’s a two-year time limit for filing a wrongful death claim in states such as Georgia, so time is of the essence.
It all begins with understanding what causes of death could trigger a wrongful death lawsuit. Here is a look at the most common types.
1. Motor Vehicle Accidents
Car accidents are the most common type of wrongful death event. It’s truly a matter of numbers thanks to the hundreds of millions of drivers on America’s roads. The majority of fatal crashes are due to at least one driver’s negligent behavior. That could be speeding, reckless driving, distracted driving, driving under the influence, or something more. If any of these factors apply to the accident that killed your loved one, the driver may be liable for the death.
Sometimes, accidents are caused by the negligent actions of the city, county, or other government authority. For instance, having inadequate, unclear, or absent signage indicating ongoing road repairs ahead. In that case, the city or county would be liable for wrongful death.
2. Medical Malpractice
Medicine is a delicate, sophisticated craft that requires years of study before one is allowed to handle patients. Doctors and nurses are subjected to highly skilled training before they are bestowed with the credentials necessary to practice. But, just because a healthcare professional knows what they should do, doesn’t mean they will do it.
Medical personnel may feel tempted to cut corners and therefore place a patient’s life in jeopardy. The most common medical malpractice wrongful death cases involve misdiagnosis, a failure to diagnose, surgical errors, and overdose drug prescriptions.
3. Work-Related Accidents
Certain jobs, such as construction, transportation and forestry, experience above-average work-related fatal injuries. Nevertheless, workplace death can occur in any profession. And there’s a possibility that it could qualify as wrongful death if it was precipitated by an employer subjecting their employee to dangerous circumstances.
For instance, if a banker is forced to work long hours for days on end, and then experiences a deadly car crash due to the accumulated exhaustion, their loved ones could sue the employer for wrongful death.
4. Defective Products
If someone dies as a result of using a flawed product, the manufacturer could be held liable for wrongful death. Product liability is the primary reason manufacturers spend enormous resources and plenty of time testing their products.
Any financial advantage derived from rushing a product to the market before the competition does can be quickly reversed by wrongful death lawsuits. Some examples of defective product wrongful death situations include toxic foods, contaminated children’s toys, defective automobiles, and risky pharmaceuticals.
In a world seemingly obsessed with improving safety every day, wrongful death is something we should continue to see less of. However, safety-enhancing systems, processes and procedures do negate the power of choice and discretion individuals and organizations possess.
Death may occur because someone failed to do what they knew or should have known was the right thing to do. In that case, a wrongful death lawsuit may not erase the pain but will be an important component of enforcing accountability.