Personal Injury Attorney
There is a special kind of lawsuit called wrongful death action. This type of claim is made on behalf of someone who was killed as a result of someone else’s actions. But what is the most common cause of wrongful death? What situations is it appropriate for a loved one to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
Causes of Wrongful Death
There are three different types of wrongful death. You can think of these are different categories.
- Accidental death by negligence – This type of wrongful death is when someone acts negligently and it results in someone being killed. The most common example of this is when someone causes a car accident and another driver does not survive. Any sort of negligent action can cause this kind of wrongful death, however. To be considered negligent, an action needs to breach some kind of duty to act a certain way. To put it another way, someone needs to be taking actions, or failing to take actions, that a reasonable person would not expect, such as driving while drunk or ignoring safety precautions.
- Accidental death by medical malpractice – If a doctor does not provide care that is up to reasonable standards, this is called medical malpractice. If this malpractice results in the death of a patient, that is a case of wrongful death. Common examples of this are doctors ignoring patient symptoms, failing to prescribe the medically accepted treatment, or actively harming patients.
- Intentional death – Finally, if someone intentionally kills another person, that is also a case of wrongful death. Many people do not realize that this also counts as a form of wrongful death, as a criminal investigation will happen. However, the family members of the victim have every right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, which will happen alongside the criminal investigation. The two types of court cases are criminal and civil, and a wrongful death claim would be a civil case. The civil and criminal cases will not affect each other or influence the outcome of the other. Likewise, it is entirely possible for the two cases to have different outcomes.
If a death does not fall into one of these three categories, it likely does not count as wrongful death. This means you likely cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit. It may be possible that another type of lawsuit would be appropriate given the unique circumstances. To know for sure, you should speak with an attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases.