While personal injury cases often involve much pain and grieving, the loss suffered in wrongful death lawsuits is often unbearable. If your family has recently lost a loved one to the negligence or wrongdoing of someone else, you may be able to file a claim for compensation. Contact an experienced Estey & Bomberger, LLP San Diego wrongful death attorney for more information.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death?
Unfortunately, not every grieving parent, child, or spouse has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit requires several elements to stand up in a court of law.
Necessary Elements for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit:
- Death A human being must pass away. Someone who is in a vegetative state is not eligible for a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits cannot be filed on behalf of animals.
- Negligence or Intent to Harm. The cause of the person’s death must be determined to have been a result of negligence or intent to harm. Thereby, the defendant in the case must have some responsibility or fault that applies directly to the death of the individual.
- Survival with Need The survivor filing the lawsuit must be dependent on the deceased for some sort of financial, emotional, or physical support, which is lacking now that they are gone.
- Representation of Estate The estate belonging to the deceased must be legally represented by a designated individual.
Primary Causes of Wrongful Death
According to the CDC, fatalities from auto accidents are the #5 leading cause of death in the U.S.
- Automotive 40,000 deaths occur as a result of automobile accidents each year. 40% of these are a result of driving under the influence, 33% are a result of a vehicle leaving the road, and another large percentage is the result of speeding. Vehicle rollovers also account for 10,000 deaths each year.
- Aviation Pilots who fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol and faulty aviation equipment are the two main causes of wrongful death lawsuits regarding air travel.
- Motorcycle As 65% of all motorcycle accidents result in death, there are often wrongful death suits filed against the drivers of the vehicles who fail to see or make room for motorcyclists. Some motorcycle-related wrongful death suits are filed against manufacturers of the motorcycles or equipment.
98,000 fatalities occur each year as a result of medical malpractice. 90% of all reported malpractice incidents end in either lifelong disability or death.
- Surgical Misstep This includes leaving instruments or other materials inside the body, severing arteries, removing or transplanting the wrong organ or body part, and more.
- Medication Errors 1.5 million people are affected negatively by medication errors, and 7,000 deaths occur as a result of these errors yearly.
- Negligence in Care Especially prevalent in nursing homes, but applicable in any medical facility, nurses and doctors can be sued for faulty care.
- Misdiagnosis or Non-diagnosis When an individual is being treated for the wrong diagnosis or not being treated for a condition from which they suffer, wrongful death can occur.
There are three major components of product liability lawsuits. The most common product liability suits involve safety equipment and children’s toys.
- Design defect
- Manufacturing defect
- Failure to warn
An unsafe environment can cause a wrongful death. The most common cases are slips and falls, while other cases involve mesothelioma as a result of exposure to asbestos.
Wrongful death can occur in the workplace as a result of a number of different causes, such as faulty equipment, slips and falls, explosions, burns, chemical exposure, overexertion in unprotected conditions, and more. 6,000 fatalities occur annually as a result of wrongful death in the workplace. Occupations with the highest risk factor for wrongful death include:
- Manufacturing Plants
Wrongful Death Legal Representation
If you believe the death of your loved one happened as a result of negligence or intent to harm, and the loss of this individual affects you or someone you care about, contact the law office of Estey & Bomberger today to determine your rights.