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When to file a wrongful death claim

On Behalf of | May 11, 2020 | Firm News

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.

Workplace death

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
  • Poisonings

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.