What Makes a Fatal Accident a Wrongful Death?

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A car is overturned after a fatal accident in North Carolina.

It is a heartbreaking experience to lose a loved one, especially when the loss is sudden and caused by someone else’s negligence. In some cases, the deceased’s family may file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover the financial losses incurred by the death. But what exactly is wrongful death?

Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When an accident or act of violence causes an untimely death, the surviving family of the decedent may seek to hold someone accountable for their loss. However, it is essential to understand that wrongful death claims are independent of any criminal charges that may be made against the at-fault party.

The family of the decedent may pursue a wrongful death case to collect compensation for the financial losses they have suffered as a result of the death. They may bring the case to seek retribution from those whose negligence resulted in the death of a loved one. However, in wrongful death cases, the at-fault party typically escapes criminal prosecution, as the circumstances surrounding the death are frequently unintended.

A few legal matters must be resolved in the event of a wrongful death before a grieving family may start legal action. Naturally, not every accident will be eligible for legal action, but when they are, they can aid bereaved families in recovering financially. Losing a loved one is terrible enough; families shouldn’t have to cope with the emotional suffering and financial burden that comes after a loss when another party’s carelessness caused a fatality.

A wrongful death lawsuit could be brought in the following circumstances:

Auto Accidents

Automobile accidents often give rise to wrongful death lawsuits. In an automobile accident, wrongful death can occur due to a number of causes, including another driver’s carelessness or negligence, criminal behavior, or even an automaker’s manufacturing flaw. There can be many scenarios in which automobile accidents can occur due to the driver’s negligence, such as driving while distracted or failing to follow traffic laws. When operating a motor vehicle, a driver is responsible for doing so safely. When someone chooses to ignore this obligation, they should be held responsible for the harm done.

Impaired Driving

An intoxicated driver has a very high chance of being held liable for any fatalities they are responsible for. It is simple to understand how a person who drives after drinking may be held accountable for the results, due to the inherent recklessness of the activity. However, a series of North Carolina court decisions have made it possible for private hosts who provide alcohol in a social environment to be held accountable if a visitor they provided alcohol to is involved in an accident.

Workplace Accidents

At work, there can be many scenarios that may lead to an unforeseen disaster. This is the second most frequent justification for wrongful death lawsuits. People working in hazardous or dangerous environments, such as construction sites, industrial regions, chemical plants, or other places, are at risk of fatal workplace accidents. If an employee dies while doing their duties, their employer or company may be held liable for the ensuing material losses and emotional burdens.

You must demonstrate in a wrongful death lawsuit that the employer’s carelessness was the cause of the death of your loved one. To support it, you’ll need proof. Collecting the evidence necessary to demonstrate the employer’s carelessness can be challenging. You could not be permitted access to the workplace or to speak with other employees to gather proof from the company. As a result, you should enlist the aid of a seasoned wrongful death lawyer.

Premises Liability

A wrongful death lawsuit can also be an option when a person suffers a terrible accident due to a property owner’s negligence or failure to warn of a potentially hazardous situation. There are some situations that fall under this category (like accidental drowning). However, it is unusual for someone to die as a consequence of a slip-and-fall or other typical premises liability occurrence.

Negligent Supervision

“Negligent supervision” (also known as “negligent entrustment”) is the term used when a supervising adult fails to sufficiently safeguard the safety of a youngster who is in their care. This may be a childcare facility, a school, a friend, a family member, or a babysitter. In particular, if they are paying for the service, parents want the person they entrust with their child’s care to uphold certain duties of care. Parents may go to court if they don’t.

Medical Malpractice

Medical negligence may lead to a wrongful death lawsuit if a medical provider does not provide the expected standard of care. Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional acts carelessly and injures a patient. It can occur when a healthcare provider neglects to take the proper action, administers an incorrect course of treatment, or otherwise deviates from the accepted standard of care. This may include a flawed or incomplete diagnosis, a subpar procedure, or negligent treatment. Patient deaths are frequently the result of medical malpractice. Medical malpractice charges are usually difficult to establish since healthcare professionals usually have legal safeguards.

Criminal Offenses

Acts of criminal violence like assault, manslaughter, or murder can surely lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. Legal actions for wrongful death are routinely undertaken even when the guilty party has already been charged criminally.

Faulty Products

Numerous unsafe or flawed products cause the deaths or injuries of thousands of people every year. Cases involving product liability are typically brought forward by families who have lost loved ones or customers who have suffered severe, avoidable injuries due to a product’s flaw.  If a defective product kills someone, there are often grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, especially if the product manufacturer was aware of the risk involved.

Wrongful Death Claim

It’s critical to remember that not all accidental deaths will fall within the definition of wrongful death. It must be established that the death was brought on by the misconduct or carelessness of another person to bring a wrongful death action. This implies that there must be proof that the negligent person owed an obligation to act in a certain manner and that their failure to do so directly contributed to the death.

Gathering as much evidence as possible before proceeding with a wrongful death claim is crucial. Things like police reports, witness accounts, and medical records usually fall under this category. You can navigate the legal system with the assistance of an expert wrongful death lawyer, who will also ensure you have all the evidence you need to make a compelling argument.

Also important to note is the potential emotional and financial strain wrongful death lawsuits can place on the family of the decedent. A compassionate and understanding attorney can support you through this trying time.

Tatum & Atkinson Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Here to Help After an Accident

A wrongful death is a tragic occurrence that occurs when an accident or violent act results in an untimely death due to another party’s negligence. Seeking an attorney is crucial if you believe your loved one’s death was preventable. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you understand your legal choices and walk you through the process of bringing a wrongful death claim.

Tatum & Atkinson, “the Heavy Hitters,” understands how sensitive the situation is after a wrongful death and will do everything in our power to ease the trauma and financial hardship your family may be experiencing. We understand that you need the assistance of a skilled wrongful death lawyer to help you through this difficult time, and we will provide exactly that. Contact us for a no-cost consultation. To book your free case review immediately, call (800) 529-0804 or contact us online.