When Can You Go To Trial For Wrongful Death?

Regardless of our feelings about death, this is something that comes to everyone eventually. However, some deaths are natural and expected, such as someone passing away late in their life of an elderly-related illness. On the other side of the equation, other deaths come too soon and could have easily been prevented, such as drowning a child in a backyard swimming pool.

When a preventable death occurs, that means that someone else was negligent or careless. In such instances, the court can step in and help the victim's family get compensation for the loss of a loved one. These deaths are known as wrongful death lawsuits, but specific criteria must be met before going forward with one.

Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death?

While wrongful death is intended to help people deal with the loss of a loved one, legally speaking, it is intended for the families of a victim. This means, for example, that while the family of a victim can sue for wrongful death, the partner that has been in a relationship with the victim for six months may not participate. People that can sue for wrongful death include:

• The Spouse
• Surviving Children
• Parents
• Blood Relatives That Can Prove Financial Dependence
• Child Born Out Of Wedlock If Financial Support Is Proven

Friends and other associates do not qualify to take part, though, of course, they can follow along for the principle or moral support.

Determining Appropriateness

The two critical elements of a wrongful death lawsuit are negligence and preventability. A death must be shown to have been preventable if a certain amount of legally required care or responsibility had been established. Proof must then be provided that the care required was not at play, and thus, a negligent action led to the death.

This applies to many different situations, but the most common wrongful death instances are:

Vehicular Accidents

This is all-too-common, as drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving, and other mistakes on the road can quickly lead to vehicles colliding or, worse yet, impact cyclists or even pedestrians.

Defective Products

If a customer uses a product as intended but dies, that indicates a severe defect in the product. The Takata airbag incident, where airbags exploded like grenades, instead of safely protecting accident victims, is an example of a defective product with lethal results.

Premises Liability

Wrongful death can sometimes occur on someone else's private residential, commercial, or even public property. Different property owners have other responsibilities. However, a homeowner leaving a gun on a coffee table for visiting children to find and use, or an amusement park failing to repair an attraction, is an example of property owners failing to exercise basic precautionary responsibilities. If these lead to death, that is a case of wrongful death.

On Purpose

In some cases, even crimes, such as murder, can be met with a wrongful death lawsuit. OJ Simpson, the most famous, was found not guilty of murder but found at fault in a civil lawsuit for wrongful death.

If you've lost a loved one due to negligence, talk to a wrongful death attorney and see if the people responsible can be held accountable.