The grief when a loved one dies unexpectedly can be overwhelming. Although it might have been an accident or a mishap, one thing to consider is whether or not it was preventable. If so, then it could be that someone else was at fault, in which case you may hold that party accountable in a wrongful death case.
Did someone act negligently?
One indication that another party caused your loved one’s death is that his or her actions were negligent. Some are more obvious than others. For instance, in the case of a drunk driving accident, driving while impaired would be a clear-cut example of negligence. But other types of accidents may take an investigation to determine if someone else was at fault.
Some examples of negligent actions that could put liability on the other driver are:
- using a cell phone; or
- driving through a red light.
Besides car accidents, medical accidents are also very common in the world of wrongful deaths. When someone undergoes a medical procedure, it can be a little more difficult to know if a medical professional’s negligence was the cause of a loved one’s death.
Using surgery as an example, whether the patient died because of unavoidable complications or from preventable mistakes can be difficult. An investigation may shed more light, such as whether the surgeons operated on the wrong organ or left an object in the patient’s body.
There can be a lot of challenges when determining negligence with any other type of medical care or treatment received. So whenever there is apprehension about the cause of a loved one’s death, it’s important to seek legal advice.
Does strict liability apply?
Sometimes, negligence may not be the issue. Strict liability could be the underlying issue. This generally applies to consumer products, which means that if a product caused fatal injuries, surviving family members may hold the manufacturer liable. Manufacturers are responsible for their products and any damages they cause. In other words, there doesn’t always have to be intent or an act of carelessness to hold the manufacturer responsible.
Of course, challenges can arise when trying to establish that a product caused someone’s death. A wrongful death claim in this situation must establish first that the product was used in its intended manner. If you know that your loved one was not misusing the product then it would do you well to investigate whether or not you can hold the manufacturer liable for offering a defective product.
Malfunctioning products can also encompass pharmaceuticals. Let’s say a loved one appeared to develop symptoms right after taking a prescription drug. An investigation reveals it was tainted. Or after a collision, a mechanic looks at the car and discovers the brakes had failed. In these cases, surviving family members may pursue a claim against the product’s manufacturer – though others may hold some responsibility, too.
Talk to an Attorney about Filing a Wrongful Death Case
Anytime there is a question or concern that a death was preventable or if pursuing a wrongful death case, it’s important to look into the matter further. This may require utilizing an expert, or calling upon witnesses.
To secure the help of an expert – say a medical expert who can testify that a surgical mishap was the surgeon’s fault – get help from an attorney. In fact, seeking legal counsel is critical to put together a strong wrongful death claim that proves someone else’s negligence caused or contributed to the individual’s death.
An attorney has access to resources that can be helpful in proving negligence or strict liability. An investigation can piece together the facts. In turn, it could help determine who may hold wrongful death liability. Get help from Gacovino, Lake & Associates: call 800-246-4878.