Defining wrongful death

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The causes and legal implications of wrongful death.


Legal Definition of Wrongful Death

As defined under the law, wrongful deaths are those fatalities that result from another party’s negligence, illicit acts or even inactions. These may involve a person, a business entity, an organization or a combination.

Every year, thousands of wrongful death claims are filed across the United States. These lawsuits vary. Legal remedies also depend on the manner of the victim’s death and the actions undertaken by the defendant.

Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths

Numerous incidents lead to unjustifiable death of most victims. These include:

    Vehicular accidents – examples of these are car collisions, pedestrian accidents, airplane catastrophes and boat capsizing in which the drivers, vehicle manufacturers or owners are found to be guilty of failing to perform their duties of ensuring people’s safety.

    Use of defective products – under the product liability laws, the manufacturers, designers and distributors of a merchandise found to be having flaws can be charged if it caused injuries or the death of its end user

    Medical Malpractice – health care professionals have their own standards of providing care to their patients. Any misjudgment to their patients' ailments that leads to death can result in a wrongful death lawsuit

    Visiting or working in hazardous places – various laws compel employers or even property owners to ensure the safety of workers and people who visit their properties. If they fail to maintain a hazard-free environment, it may cause them serious legal complications if someone dies on their property.

    Animal attacks – animal handlers and owners have full responsibility over the behavior of their pets. If it happens that their animal attacks an individual who consequently dies from the incident, they will be the one responsible under the law.

These scenarios are often associated with negligence, which is primary grounds for charge in a wrongful death suit.

Pursuing Legal Action

The families of the departed victim may pursue several legal procedures in order to seek justice. However, due to the intricacy of wrongful death litigation, many rely on resolving the case in an out-of-court settlement.

In pursuing a case outside of court, both parties, the plaintiff and the defendant, may avoid the technical terms used in formal litigation proceedings. Hence, they may have a better chance of reaching a solution.

Unlike court litigations, can last years at a time, this type of alternative dispute resolution may last only a few meetings.

However, a settlement procedure needs proper guidance and representation from a qualified wrongful death settlement attorney. This makes sure that both parties are not violating rules that may nullify their agreement. Further, it ensures that the rights of all parties are well protected.

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