The 5 Most Common Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

The grief of losing a loved one is often accompanied by the belief that another person or business was at fault for the death. In a wrongful death lawsuit, that belief can be proven true. Every day in the news, we read horrific stories ranging from drunk driving and car crashes to product recalls, corporate scandals, and gross negligence.

What constitutes “wrongful death?” While the straightforward definition might read along the lines of “the death of a person as the result of negligence or a wrongful act by another person,” there are many different types of wrongful death lawsuits. Here are the five we see most often:

1. Traffic Collisions

In 2016, there were 3,680 motor vehicle deaths in California. This was a 13 percent increase from 2015, a significant rise considering the national average rose by only 6 percent in the same time period. Motor vehicle accidents include:

  • Auto accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents 

The driver deemed to be at fault in a fatal collision is liable for wrongful death damages. Often, the inquiry quickly turns to the amount of insurance coverage is available for the loss.

2. Medical Malpractice

A 2016 study found that “medical errors” are now the third leading cause of death in the U.S. Every year, more than 250,000 Americans die from errors in hospitals or healthcare facilities; that’s nearly 700 deaths per day. Many of these victims’ families sue for medical negligence or medical malpractice. If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim because of suspected medical malpractice, be sure to read this article first.

3. Nursing Home Abuse

As California elder abuse attorneys, we know that many nursing homes are unqualified, understaffed, neglectful, or a combination of the three. Nursing home abuse is one of the most heartbreaking wrongdoings, because the facility is entrusted to provide vital care, only to bring harm. If your loved one passed away in a nursing facility, and you suspect they might have been abused or neglected, it is not too late to file an elder abuse claim. Read our full article on nursing home wrongful death lawsuits here.

4. Defective Products

Any product you see on any store shelf should have gone through rigorous testing before being distributed to the public. A wrongful death lawsuit can arise from something as simple as a dangerous toy to a more complex defect, such as an unsafe design flaw in a particular car model. Tainted pharmaceuticals and food products are also common causes of wrongful death.

5. Workplace Accidents

Most fatal accidents at work fall under the jurisdiction of the State of California Division of Workers’ Compensation (DWC), which provides certain death benefits to the victim’s family. These cases include, but are not limited to:

  • Manufacturing accidents
  • Traffic collisions while in the course and scope of employment
  • Fatal slip-and-fall accidents
  • Asbestos exposure
  • Mesothelioma 

When an industrial injury is caused by someone other than the decedent’s employer—such as a neighboring business or other vehicle—a wrongful death lawsuit against the third party is permitted in addition to a workers’ compensation case.

Free Case Evaluation

Wrongful death lawsuits are not acts of revenge. They are meant to help family members recover financially and emotionally from the death of a loved one. If you believe you might have a valid wrongful death claim for your loved one, contact The Law Offices of Belgum, Fry & Van Allen for a free wrongful death case evaluation. We’re here to help you recover the compensation you deserve and hold the person responsible for your loss accountable for their wrongful or negligent act.