There are many ways you could bear legal responsibility for death without knowing it. For example, you could inadvertently do something that causes an accident or deliver a food gift that’s poisonous to the recipient. Medical malpractice cases are quite common, and unsafe conditions on your property could cause death. No matter whether you intended harm to the victim, the survivors could file a wrongful death lawsuit. These suits seek monetary compensation based on wrongful death. You can read more on the subject here, as you need to know that it is crucial to have an attorney for such legal matters.
According to an article posted at law.jrank.org, beneficiaries who can file wrongful death claims include immediate family members, but that’s rapidly changing.
New Rules About Who Can File for Wrongful Death
The rules are gradually changing about wrongful death cases, which have soared recently because of Covid-19 cases. At one time, family members couldn’t sue for wrongful death caused by another family member. The doctrine of family immunity prevented wrongful death lawsuits against other family members. However, strict application of the law prevented many beneficiaries from claiming insurance payouts. As a result, many states have discarded the law in certain cases, like adult children suing a parent.
Some states allow life partners, financial dependents, and common-law spouses to file wrongful death lawsuits. Distant relatives can also file for wrongful death, and these include grandparents, brothers, and sisters. Some states have also made provisions for people who suffer financially to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is defined as some type of misconduct or negligence that leads to a person’s death. It can include many things, and someone might remain unaware that their actions were responsible. According to experts, wrongful death wasn’t legally compensable until the middle part of the 19th century. Then, over many years, states began legalizing the process of filing for financial damages. Today, people can sue for lost wages, financial costs, and non-economic pain and suffering.
Wrongful death claims apply to all types of accidents, medical malpractice, product liabilities, and willful murders. Many people were outraged when O.J. Simpson was found not guilty, but he eventually lost his wrongful death case. People, companies, and government agencies can be held accountable for negligence in wrongful death cases.
Skyrocketing Wrongful Death Cases
On one side or the other, likely, you’ll eventually be involved with a wrongful death case. Recently, Covid-19-related claims have increased an already high number of wrongful death claims. Generally, employers are being held liable for failing to keep their employees safe. Some people argue that workers’ compensation claims are sufficient, but the wrongful death claims continue. These cases are generally tough to win, but many plaintiffs do succeed.
Top Causes of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
There are many reasons why people pursue wrongful death claims. Such cases usually include almost any death caused by negligence. The legal standard applies to what a reasonable person would do. The top causes of wrongful death lawsuits include the following:
- Medical Malpractice. More than a quarter-million cases of wrongful death are filed each year for medical malpractice. But, unfortunately, many cases go unreported because family members aren’t aware of the malpractice.
- Vehicular Accidents. Auto accidents cause about 40,000 fatalities each year. Many of these involve wrongful death in cases of reckless driving and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Workplace Injuries. People spend much of their lives at work. But, unfortunately, those who work in construction and other dangerous industries often fall prey to accidents. Many of these are caused by negligence, unsafe working conditions, and faulty equipment.
Filing or Defending a Wrongful Death Case
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit against a state or local government requires a state that has waived its sovereign immunity from lawsuits. Many states have found it politically correct to waive their immunity. Hiring an attorney is important for both prosecuting or defending a wrongful death case.