How do Wrongful Death Lawsuits Arise?

By Gabriel Levin on November 18th, 2014

scared driver after crashThe sudden, unexpected loss of a family member or other loved one is always difficult. The loss can be even more tragic, however, if your loved one died due to a preventable accident or intentional act of violence. If another party’s negligence or violent act caused the death, Pennsylvania law gives [1] surviving family members the legal right to hold the responsible party liable for their actions in court. Though financial recovery can never bring a loved one back, it can help for you to find a sense of justice and also receive compensation for the losses you suffered.

Types of acts that commonly cause wrongful death

Wrongful deaths may occur in a wide variety of situations that involve negligence. Negligence occurs when a party—generally an individual, company, or government entity—has a duty of care to act in a certain manner in the situation, breaches that duty, and causes actual injury or death. Common examples of incidents arising from negligence that cause wrongful death include the following:

  • Auto accidents
  • Commercial truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Bicycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Slip and fall injuries
  • Drowning incidents
  • Dangerous or defective products
  • Dangerous conditions on premises
  • Dog bites
  • Burns
  • Workplace injuries
  • Hotel injuries
  • Medical malpractice
  • Construction site accidents
  • Falls from heights

In addition to negligence, wrongful death acts also arise out of intentional acts. Such acts include police brutality, assaults, vehicular assault, and more. In addition to criminal charges, people who commit acts of violence may also face wrongful death lawsuits in civil court as well. This gives the surviving family members the opportunity to hold the responsible individual financially responsible in addition to any penal consequences they may face in a criminal case.

Wrongful death cases can help a family recover for medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost income and other financial contributions the deceased would have made to the household, loss of love, companionship, and other intangible losses. Valuating damages [2] in a wrongful death case can be extremely complicated, so you always want to make sure that you have an attorney handling your case who understands the nature of wrongful death claims.

[1] http://www.pacode.com/secure/data/231/chapter2200/chap2200toc.html

[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damages

 

 

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