A sudden death from an accident at work, on the roadway, or in a public space is a devastating event for survivors and loved ones. It’s made even more difficult when that death was the result of another person’s negligent or intentional actions, in which case it’s considered a wrongful death.
Wrongful death claims take shape when this criteria is met:
- The incident would have enabled a personal injury claim, had the person not died
- The defendant’s own negligence created a breach of duty that resulted in the victim’s death
- The damages the plaintiff seeks compensation for were directly caused by the death
For example, if a person who was texting while driving caused a car accident with a second person, and that second person died as a result of the accident, a survivor of the deceased person could file a wrongful death claim.
In many cases, a wrongful death claim can be filed against a workplace or another employee if a worker was killed on the job. Unless the worker’s death was due to an accident whose prevention was not immediately possible or for which another person was not directly responsible, a wrongful death claim might be the next step, where injuries might have resulted in worker’s compensation.
Other causes of wrongful death include:
- Slip-and-fall accidents
- Elder abuse
- Medical malpractice
- Premise liability
If the person being held responsible for the wrongful death is believed to have intentionally caused the incident which led to death, a wrongful death claim is filed as a civil suit, separate from any potential criminal charges that may accompany the case. For example, this is what happened in the case of OJ Simpson.
If a loved one or person close to you was killed in an accident and you’ve experienced damages as a result, consult an attorney about filing a wrongful death claim.