But there are, tragically, some deaths that didn’t need to happen at all. In some cases, death was entirely preventable and wouldn’t have happened if people had acted sensibly and responsibly. In these cases, even if it’s not a crime, negligence is still against the law. It can be prosecuted in court for financial compensation instead of a criminal conviction. This is known as wrongful death, and these are the most common causes of it.
Surprisingly, even in cases where an act is criminal, civil charges for wrongful death can still be brought to court. The most famous of such cases is the OJ Simpson trial in the 1990s. The renowned football athlete was initially tried for the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson but was found not guilty in a criminal trial.
Brown’s family then took the case to civil court and charged OJ Simpson with wrongful death, and this time, the civil jury found favor with the family.
If a death occurs at the workplace, one of the first things any investigation will try to establish is whether any factors contribute to that death, and, if so, whether anyone is responsible for those factors. The construction industry, for example, has a higher risk of injuries to workers due to the hazardous conditions inherent to the working environment.
This is typically offset by safety precautions employers take to reduce the exposure to possible injury workers face. Safety gear, protective clothing, and adequately maintained equipment are all critical in reducing the risk to workers. Suppose the management of a workplace deliberately ignores safety measures to save money. In that case, any death caused by this negligence is wrongful death since proper, legally required safety measures could have prevented such a death.
When a product is used as intended, observing all recommended safety measures, there shouldn’t be any problems. However, with defective products, even when following every recommended procedure, accidents can still happen that may result in injury or even death.
The defective product may act up as a result of an error during the manufacturing process. In other cases, there may be a flaw in the design itself that the creators didn’t foresee that only becomes apparent in real-world use. Whatever the case, if someone dies due to using a defective product, that is also considered a wrongful death, and the manufacturers of the product can be held accountable for the harm the product caused. If many people are affected, this can sometimes result in a class-action lawsuit as an entire group of victims act together.
By far, the most common cause of wrongful death in the St. Petersburg area, or any part of Florida or the United States, is an accident related to traffic. Drunk driving is one of the leading reasons for wrongful death, where it is apparent to everyone—if intoxication is proven—that the deaths in the accident were easily preventable. All the guilty driver had to do was stay sober and not drive drunk, which is required by law anyway.
Traffic accidents run a range of different scenarios, including:
• Car to Car, which is the most common type of accident
• Truck to Car, which often involves much more severe injuries, as trucks are bigger and capable of more damage
• Motorcycle Accidents, which can be severe since motorcyclists lack the same protection as car or truck drivers
• Bicycle Accidents, which are similar to motorcycle accidents in that, aside from a helmet, there’s no protection
• Pedestrian Accidents, which are even more potentially serious as people crossing a street, have virtually no protection whatsoever from a vehicle impact.
If you, or someone you know, has been affected by a wrongful death with a friend or family member, talk to an experienced wrongful death lawyer in St. Petersburg. A wrongful death should never go unanswered, and the people responsible shouldn’t get away with it..