When a loved one dies unexpectedly, it can be difficult to know what to do next.
If you believe that their death was wrongful, you may be able to file a lawsuit seeking damages.
But what are the common types of wrongful death cases?
And what do you need to prove to win your case? Here’s an overview of the most common types of wrongful death lawsuits, and some tips on how to get started.
Car crashes are the most common cause of death in an automobile accident, followed by pedestrians and bicycle riders.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than 99% of all car crash fatalities were caused by one or more driver errors: speeding, driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, and distracted driving.
If your loved one died in a car accident caused by another driver, your wrongful death case will center on the other driver’s negligence.
If you’re filing a wrongful death lawsuit for a car accident in Michigan, you’ll need an attorney familiar with state laws.
You’ll need to prove that the other driver failed to do something (or follow some rule) that they were legally obligated to do, and that failure directly led to your loved one’s death.
For example, if the defendant ran a red light while driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, he or she would be negligent per se – meaning you wouldn’t have to prove that drinking and driving directly caused the crash.
Instead, it’s implied. However, this doesn’t always mean an easy win for plaintiffs – defendants can sometimes argue that their negligence wasn’t what caused the crash.
Cruise Ship Accidents
While plane crashes are probably the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about accidents, other forms of transportation also play a key role in these incidents.
The most common incidents involve boats and other vessels – for example, many cases arise when people fall overboard or ships collide.
Approximately 700 cruise ship passengers go missing every year.
When someone dies aboard a cruise ship due to another person’s negligence, their family can file a wrongful death claim.
Cruise ship passengers can face many health and safety hazards – for example, violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) have been reported in some areas due to insufficient access for wheelchair users, poor lighting, and doors that are difficult to open.
Instead of filing an injury claim (which you can do if you or your loved one has suffered injuries onboard), wrongful death claims usually only involve the death itself.
Depending on where the incident took place, different laws may apply to your case.
According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, an average of 22 people die every day due to injuries caused by using defective products.
If your loved one died as a result of a faulty product – for example, if they were electrocuted after grabbing a metal garden hose that had fallen into a puddle – you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim.
Under product liability law, manufacturers have held strictly liable for any harm their products cause others under certain conditions.
According to federal safety standards, all-metal garden hoses should contain built-in ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI).
Since not all metal hoses contain this safety feature, the manufacturer may be liable for your loved one’s death.
However, if you can’t prove how their product caused someone else’s death (for example, if it isn’t obvious that a lawnmower exploded and killed someone), you’ll need to seek damages under negligence law instead.
When medical professionals fail to provide proper care or follow standard procedures – such as giving the wrong dosage of medication or performing surgery on the wrong body part – they may be liable for patients’ deaths.
If your loved one died due to malpractice by a physician, nurse, or hospital staff member in any state, your local jurisdiction will typically determine whether or not you can file a wrongful death case.
In most states, you’ll need to file a medical malpractice claim within two years of the incident.
Withholding medical treatment or failing to diagnose a serious illness can also give rise to a wrongful death claim.
For example, if your loved one visited a hospital due to chest pains and didn’t receive proper testing for an extended period, you might have grounds for a claim.
A wrongful death claim can be filed when a person dies due to another party’s negligence or if their death was caused by faulty products, medical malpractice, or other types of actions that are considered “wrongful.”
If your loved one died because of another person’s actions, your local jurisdiction will determine whether or not you have grounds for a claim.
To learn more about wrongful death claims, consult with an attorney today.