Losing a loved one unexpectedly is a horrifying experience, and during the grieving process, taking any kind of legal action is probably the last thing on your mind. However, if your loved one’s death was the result of a third party’s recklessness or negligence, you deserve to be compensated. You shouldn’t be left with unpaid medical bills, funeral expenses, and the loss of your loved one’s financial support if their death was the fault of another.
In some cases, such as a drunk driving accident, the responsible party should face criminal charges for their actions. However, your family won’t necessarily get the compensation you need and deserve if that person is found guilty in a criminal court. To give yourself the best chance of recovering compensation, you’ll need to work with a wrongful death attorney and file a civil lawsuit against the person or organization that caused your loved one’s death.
So how do you know if you should contact a wrongful death lawyer? Several common causes of wrongful death are outlined below, but to better understand your rights in the wake of your loved one’s death, you should schedule an initial consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.
Situations When Families Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer
Accidents or injuries. Accidents and injuries are by and far the most common causes of wrongful deaths. Car accidents caused by reckless drivers, workplace deaths caused by unsafe working conditions, and falls from an unsafe or poorly maintained buildings are all examples of wrongful death accident cases, although they are certainly not the only type of accidents that can occur.
Medical malpractice. Medical negligence is actually the third leading cause of death in the United States, outranked only by heart disease and cancer. A misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a serious medical condition is the most common cause of medical malpractice, followed by surgery errors, and then treatment errors. If you believe that your loved one’s death was the result of a medical professional failing to provide reasonable care, you should talk to an attorney.
Defective products. There are almost countless ways products that are defectively designed, manufactured, or even marketed can lead to wrongful deaths. A crib could have bars that are too far apart and pose a choking hazard to an infant. A lawn mower without proper instructions and warnings could maim or kill the person using it. Car manufacturer errors are another notable cause of wrongful deaths; just this past year, GM has faced scrutiny and lawsuits for releasing vehicles with faulty ignition switches.
Defective drugs. Pharmaceutical companies often come under fire for failing to disclose—or even cover up—the potentially harmful side effects of their drugs. For example, a company might fail to warn consumers about a potentially fatal interaction between two types of drugs. If you’ve lost a loved one due to a drug complication, even if the drug your loved one took was FDA-approved, you should consult with an experienced injury attorney to learn what steps you can take.
Although filing a lawsuit after a loved one’s wrongful death can feel overwhelming, it’s the most direct path to potentially recovering the financial compensation you need and holding the third party responsible so that their negligence cannot harm anyone else in the future.
About the Author:
Andrew Winston is a partner at the personal injury law firm of The Law Office of Andrew Winston. He has been recognized for excellence in the representation of injured clients by admission to the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, is AV Rated by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, and was recently voted by his peers as a Florida “SuperLawyer”-an honor reserved for the top 5% of lawyers in the state-and to Florida Trend’s “Legal Elite.”