When a loved one dies, it can be difficult for those closest to him or her to recognize the facts that surround the tragic event. Oftentimes, the details of the death are not readily known and that can lead to a lot of confusion for family members and friends. However, certain aspects of a death will soon come to light and many of them may be a reason to contact a lawyer and file a wrongful death suit.
1. Intentional Harm
Due to the high-profile nature of criminal murder cases, many family members are not aware that they have a right to sue the person or persons deemed responsible for their loved one’s death. Once convicted, a murder suspect’s journey through the court system does not simply end.
An experienced wrongful death attorney will be able to file a lawsuit in civil court, especially if the victim had children or parents that needed, or would need, financial and emotional support in the future.
2. Medical Malpractice
Perhaps the most difficult wrongful death lawsuits to win are those involving medical malpractice. If a medical provider makes an error in treatment, medication prescription, or fails to provide something essential to a patient, he may be held financially responsible.
Physicians and surgeons have a legal duty to provide proper care to patients, but unfortunately, their implied efficacy, does not often allow criminal charges to be filed against them. By filing a lawsuit, these medical providers are meant to be deterred from making the same mistakes in the future.
3. Negligent Activity
Whether it is at home, work, or out in the community, the actions of others are highly regulated by criminal law, but not everything is actually listed as a crime. When one’s activity is clearly dangerous, but there are no laws to ban it, it’s considered negligent in the eyes of many civil courts.
Negligence is defined as a failure to use reasonable care in doing something. It doesn’t matter what activity is being engaged in, the person performing the act, must take all known steps to ensure the safety of everyone involved and nearby.
4. Breach of Duty
Much like medical malpractice, a person or business’s failure to provide the level of required care to another sometimes leads to a wrongful death. The staff employed by medical facilities, operators of heavy machinery or vehicles, and businesses dealing with harmful products, are just a few examples of those who can be sued for wrongful death.
Usually, these cases stem from a lack of recognition that an activity, or inactivity, poses a foreseeable risk to another. The deaths generally occur in medical care situations, but can happen in any situation where one’s actions fall below the expected standard of care.
5. Incurred Expenses
The most common reason family members will seek the services of a wrongful death attorney is because the medical and/or burial costs are unexpected and unplanned. Parents do not generally carry life insurance on their children, nor do they prepay for their funerals.
Hospital bills can wait, but funeral homes and cemeteries require up-front payment for their services. Additionally, the general public is not even aware of other costs, such as coroner’s fees, that can be associated with sudden death.
If it turns out that any one or more of the above details is likely in the event of a loved one’s death, family members must act quickly. Many jurisdictions have statutes of limitations on filing wrongful death lawsuits. Contacting an attorney as soon as possible is necessary to ensure that the time needed to collect evidence, interview witnesses, and file the lawsuit, is available.