When a loved one dies, the family is often in a state of turmoil. It only adds to the pain if it was a wrongful death. A wrongful death is when a person is killed as a result of the negligence or misconduct by another person, company, or doctor. There does not have to be intent to kill; there just has to be proof of misconduct, breach of contract or warranty, default, negligence, or wrongful act.
Wrongful death is a concept that describes civil liability for the death of another person. It is different than murder or manslaughter and it is different than a true accident.
In order for a person to be found liable for a wrongful death, the person must be found to have a duty of care to the person who died, to have breached that duty of care by failing to act like a reasonable person, and that breach of the duty of care must have caused the injuries that resulted in the death.
An action for wrongful death may be brought for either an intentional or unintentional act that causes an injury resulting in death.
Intentional Wrongful Death
This type of wrongful death occurs from the fault of another party. It may include causes such as:
- An altercation where one party injures another to the point of death
- The failure to enclose a swimming pool as stated by local law where a child drowns
Unintentional Wrongful Death
This type of wrongful death occurs because of the negligence of another party. It may include causes such as:
- A negligent driver causing an automobile accident resulting in another party’s death
- Medical malpractice errors or failure to diagnose a condition
- An employer’s failure to protect workers from work-related incidents