Common Cases for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

If you’re dealing with the aftermath of a loved one’s death, then you may wonder if there’s anything that can improve your situation.

Should your loved one’s untimely passing be deemed a wrongful death, then you likely will be eligible for compensation by filing a lawsuit. The important part of this is that the fatality must be wrongful.

Wrongful deaths are avoidable and often the result of another party’s carelessness, negligence, or illegal behavior. This means that someone else’s actions directly lead to a preventable fatality.

It can be difficult to determine if your situation applies, especially when you’re grieving. To help simplify this for you, we’ll explain four of the most common situations that are eligible for a wrongful death lawsuit below. 

Vehicle Accidents

To start with, vehicle accidents account for a large majority of all wrongful death cases.

However, not all car accidents are eligible. The crash must be the result of another driver’s negligence. Should the deceased have caused the accident, the surviving party cannot be sued.

For fatal accidents that are caused by the surviving driver, a wrongful death suit is appropriate. A good way to tell if you have a case is if your recently-passed family member would have been eligible for a personal injury lawsuit had they survived.

Again, this comes down to negligent behavior. Consider the circumstances of the accident. Did the other driver do anything dangerous like speeding? Were they distracted or impaired?

Many driving behaviors can be classified as negligent. If the other driver should know better and didn’t act accordingly, then they’re likely to be found at fault and liable for a wrongful death lawsuit.

With this in mind, vehicle accidents are some of the clearest wrongful death cases.

Workplace Incidents

Another common wrongful death situation involves workplace incidents.

Similar to a car accident, this requires negligence on the end of the deceased’s employer. Their actions or lack thereof must have directly contributed to the fatality.

All employers have a responsibility to maintain a safe working environment and adequate access to appropriate safety equipment. Employees must also look out for their safety, but that only means using equipment properly and always using the safest practices.

Considering this, most fatal workplace incidents are eligible for a wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased properly followed safety requirements. Some situations may still apply if there are extenuating circumstances or unreasonable expectations from employees.

Wrongful workplace deaths can be harder to prove, but they’re just as valid a reason as any to file a lawsuit.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is also grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

All physicians are meant to care for their patients to the best of their abilities, doing so as ethically as possible. Unfortunately, physicians are still human and this means that not all of them operate with this in mind at all times.

A very small number of doctors are selfish and only seek to line their pockets. More likely, many physicians are prone to making small mistakes that have severe consequences.

When a patient’s life is on the line, any errors are catastrophic. However, many doctors are overworked, highly stressed, and fatigued. This creates the perfect scenario to make an innocent mistake that may cost a life.

Medical malpractice entails deviating from the accepted standard of care. Whether it’s a result of an innocent mistake or negligence, failing to uphold the appropriate level of care is medical malpractice.

Should this mistake translate to death, then a wrongful death lawsuit may be the correct course of action.

Product Defects

A final eligible situation is any product defect that causes death.

Many consumer goods are recalled each year due to some form of defect. Whether it’s made from harmful materials, prone to breaking, or likely to cause an injury, it will be recalled.

However, you may not always know about a product recall. You may buy something and use it for years without having any idea that it’s dangerous.

Problems arise when the product does harm and leads to death. An excellent example of this is the Takata airbag recall, which entailed several deaths stemming from defective airbags.

Takata airbags are now in a recall, but the affected families are eligible for wrongful death lawsuits. This translates to any product that may have caused an unintended death.

Consider if your loved one’s passing was caused by a product they used regularly. If it was, a wrongful death lawsuit may be in order.

Closing Thoughts

Nobody deserves to die, but deaths caused by other parties are extremely unnecessary. Should a family member pass away from another party’s actions, direct or indirect, it likely qualifies as wrongful death.

As difficult as the situation may be, compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit can slightly ease your pain. A few situations that this works well for include car accidents, workplace incidents, medical malpractice, and product defects.

While you should take all the time you need to grieve, don’t let another party’s mistakes go unspoken for. If someone else caused your loved one to pass away, you deserve to right the situation with a wrongful death lawsuit.


Sudarsan Chakraborty is a professional writer. He contributes to many high-quality blogs. He loves to write on various topics.