What Do I Need to Know About Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
The only thing more devastating than losing a loved one is the knowledge that the death was caused by someone else’s negligence and could have been prevented. The suddenness of the death coupled with the often-violent circumstances surrounding the fatality can be extremely traumatic for surviving family members. While nothing can bring your loved one back, a successful wrongful death lawsuit will ensure that you and your family are financially compensated for your loss. A dedicated and compassionate wrongful death lawyer will determine whether negligence was a factor, help you navigate the claims process and secure the maximum financial compensation you and your family deserve.
What Are the Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Claims?
A wrongful death claim is filed by the surviving family members of an individual who suffered fatal injuries as a result of another person’s negligence. The following are examples of the most common types of wrongful death claims:
- Car accidents: These are among the leading causes of wrongful death lawsuits in the United States. There are a range of factors that can cause a motorist to file a wrongful death lawsuit after a car accident. For example, the at-fault driver will likely be considered negligent if they were distracted, drowsy, impaired, or driving in a manner that endangered other motorists in the vicinity at the time of the accident.
- Truck accidents: The injuries and property damage caused by a truck accident tend to be more severe than a car accident simply because of the size and weight of a commercial truck. A truck accident can cause a wrongful death if the truck driver failed to follow the rules of the road, was driving while intoxicated or distracted, or they were driving aggressively. If the truck was not properly maintained or the cargo was not secured, other parties like the truck company or the loading company may be named in a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents: Pedestrians and bicyclists are more likely to suffer fatal injuries if they are hit by a car or a truck since there is nothing protecting them from the force of the impact. While the driver of the car or truck may be liable if negligence was involved, other parties can also be held liable. For example, if the city or county failed to install clearly marked pedestrian walkways, the city or county may be named in the lawsuit.
- Motorcycle accidents: Similar to pedestrians and bicyclists, motorcyclists are vulnerable to serious, often fatal injuries if they are struck by a car or a truck. In order to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving family members must be able to prove that the motorist who struck the motorcycle was negligent.
- Medical malpractice: If a healthcare provider makes a mistake or fails to provide the standard of care, patients can suffer serious injuries, health complications and even devastating fatalities. If negligence was a factor, the surviving family members may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the healthcare provider responsible for their loved one’s care.
- Defective products: Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure that the products they sell are safe for the public to use. There are three main types of product defects: design defects, manufacturing defects, and marketing defects. Examples of defective products that have caused wrongful deaths include pharmaceuticals, defective vehicles, dangerous toys and other childcare products, and toxic food products and containers.
- Workplace accidents: In most cases, when a worker suffers a fatal injury while on the job, the surviving family will be entitled to death benefits through the employer’s Workers’ Compensation insurance. However, if the work conditions were unsafe, or the employer failed to provide the necessary training or personal protective equipment (PPE), the surviving family member may be able to file a lawsuit against the employer, and seek additional damages.
- Premises liability accidents: If a homeowner or business owner fails to maintain their property, and the unsafe conditions caused your loved one to suffer a fatal injury, the family members of the deceased person may file a wrongful death claim against the property owner.
- Accidental overdoses and poisoning: The opioid epidemic is showing no signs of slowing down, and while not all fatalities caused by an overdose are the result of negligence, many have the necessary elements to meet the criteria: that the death that occurred was caused by negligence of a medication provider, and that the surviving family suffered financially as a result of the death. If these factors are present, the surviving family may have a valid wrongful death claim.
- Boating accidents: Like car accidents, boating accidents can occur when the boat operator is intoxicated, distracted, speeding, or is not experienced enough to handle potentially unsafe weather conditions. A boat accident can also occur if faulty equipment is not properly maintained or replaced. The negligent party may be held liable in a wrongful death claim.
What Damages Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you are able to prove that your loved one’s death was caused by another party’s negligent behavior, a successful wrongful death claim will ensure that you and your family are entitled to the following damages:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of benefits, including health insurance or pension
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of the deceased’s income
- Loss of the intimate relationships between spouses
- Medical expenses associated with your loved one’s death
- Pain and suffering
- Punitive damages if the negligent party’s actions were particularly egregious
Dayton Wrongful Death Lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC Assist Clients with Wrongful Death Claims
If you lost a loved one suddenly in a tragic accident that was caused by another person’s negligence, contact the Dayton wrongful death lawyers at Wright & Schulte LLC as soon as possible. We understand how devastating it is to lose someone so unexpectedly, particularly if the accident could have been avoided. Our dedicated legal team will work tirelessly to ensure that the negligent party is held liable for their actions. We will assist you with every step of the claims process, address all of your questions and concerns and ensure that you receive the maximum financial benefits to which you are entitled. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 937-222-7477 or contact us online. Our offices are located in Dayton, Ohio, where we serve clients in Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland, Centerville, Toledo, Youngstown, and Miamisburg.