What is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death is defined as a death caused by another party's negligence or actions. This can occur in a number of circumstances including motor vehicle fatalities, workplace fatalities, medical malpractice, unsafe premises fatalities, traumatic brain injury fatalities, defective product fatalities, and more.
Motor Vehicle Fatalities
- There were 35,092 motor vehicle traffic fatalities in the United States in 2015. This was an increase of 7.2 percent over 2014. It was the largest percentage of increase in nearly 50 years.
- Approximately 2.44 million people were injured.
- There were 10,265 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities.
- There were 32,166 fatal and 6,264,000 non-fatal police-reported crashes.
- The police reported 1,715,000 injury related crashes.
- Motorcyclist fatality count (4,976) is the highest number since 2012.
- Pedestrian fatality count (5,376) is the highest number since 1996.
- Bicycle fatality count (818) is the highest number since 1995.
If you lost a loved one or you have been seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident due to the negligence of another driver, contact our experienced car accident lawyers for a free case appraisal.
There is an average of about 12 workplace fatalities every day, according to OSHA. The most common hazard that causes injuries and deaths in the workplace is chemicals, followed by motor vehicle accidents on the job. According to OSHA, the cell tower industry is the most dangerous in America. Unfortunately, workplace fatalities are more common than we would hope. If you lost a loved one in a workplace accident due to someone else’s negligence, contact us for a free consultation today. If you lost a loved one in a wrongful death incident, contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation.
Medical Malpractice Fatalities
Every year over 90,000 deaths occur because of medical malpractice alone. Medical malpractice, including misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose and surgical errors cause many fatalities each year. According to studies conducted by the Institute of Medicine (IOM), one in five medical errors is potentially serious or fatal.
The plaintiff in a medical malpractice wrongful death case can generally recover the customary damages that are available in a medical malpractice case, such as lost earnings (but not generally future lost earning capacity), lost employment benefits, medical bills, and the deceased’s pain and suffering.
If you lost a loved one in a wrongful death incident, contact our experienced medical malpractice attorneys for a free consultation.
Traumatic Brain Injury Fatalities
The brain is a delicate organ; weighing just a few pounds it’s like pudding sitting inside a hard jagged bowl – the skull. It doesn’t take much to inflict trauma or seriously damage the brain. Whiplash without head trauma from even a low impact motor vehicle collision can cause extensive brain injury. We know now that even shaking a baby can seriously damage its brain. If your loved one has died as a result of a traumatic brain injury caused by the negligence of another, call our Neurolaw Trial Group today. We’re a team of dedicated, experienced traumatic brain injury attorneys who can help.
Defective Product Fatalities
Product manufacturers are required to ensure their products are safe from defects that can cause injuries or fatalities. When companies fail to do this, customers are exposed to the risk of injury or death while using the product. When death occurs because of a defective product, family members of the deceased can filed a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages.
A wrongful death caused by a defective product can occur because of any of the following.
- Defective auto parts including malfunctioning tires, brakes, and other auto components.
- Consumer products like electronic appliances, kitchen appliances, and other gadgets.
- Medical devices like cardiac pumps and defibrillators.
- Industrial machinery.
- Children’s products like highchairs, cribs, clothing and toys.
If you lost a loved one as the result of a defective product, contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
The representative allowed to bring a wrongful death suit is defined by state law. In some states, it may be only a spouse and children. In other states, grandparents or other relatives may also be allowed to bring a lawsuit. Some states have enacted restrictions on filing when one family member would be suing another family member for the wrongful death of a third family member. The person filing the lawsuit will also often be the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate (if he/she had one). In most cases, the deceased’s family will have no dispute over who should act on behalf of the deceased, but in some cases the surviving family members will get into a vehement dispute over who will be the representative of the estate. It is the representative of the estate who will have the legal authority to file, control, and ultimately settle the lawsuit.
What Are the Statute of Limitations of Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
The statute of limitations varies by state. In New York, the family has 2 years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If your family is facing the aftermath of the death of a loved one caused by someone else’s actions, contact the experienced wrongful death attorneys of Finkelstein & Partners today for your free consultation.
What are the Types of Damages Allowed in a Wrongful Death Case?
The damages that are allowed in a wrongful death case differ from state to state, so, if you believe that you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a family member, you should contact one of our experienced attorneys immediately. In addition to the standard damages, the plaintiff in a wrongful death case can of course collect as damages the funeral and burial expenses for the deceased. Any family members whom the deceased supported financially are entitled to damages for loss of support for the period of time into the future that the deceased would have supported them. In order to be awarded damages for loss of support, the family member must prove that the deceased supported him/her financially, and must prove the amount of the support. Minor children will receive loss of support through age 18 and possibly for college if the child can prove that the deceased would have contributed to the child’s college education. A widow will receive loss of support until the deceased’s presumed retirement age (usually 65). A widower can receive loss of support if he can show that his deceased wife supported him. Parents or other relatives can also receive damages for loss of support if they can prove that the deceased supported them.
Other injuries such as slip and fall incidents can sometimes lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. If your loved one was killed in a slip, trip and fall incident, click to learn how we can help.