Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death
What exactly qualifies as a wrongful death? The definition can vary from state to state. Here in Ohio, according to the Ohio Revised Code Ch. 2125, a death is wrongful if it occurs because of another’s wrongful act, neglect, or default. As an additional point, the Ohio Revised Code also considers a death wrongful if, should the victim have survived, they could have credibly sued for personal injury.
Nationally, there are tens of thousands of wrongful death claims brought each and every year. In Ohio, medical malpractice and motor vehicle accidents alone account for more than 4,000 claims per year.
Most common causes
- Auto, Truck, and Motorcycle Incidents—This is the big one, and accounts for more wrongful death cases than any other single category. Drunk or impaired driving, distracted driving, overly aggressive driving and road rage incidents, all play a part. This category also includes accidents caused by defective vehicles.
- Bicycle Accidents—Bicyclists are particularly vulnerable to fatal accidents because they often share the same streets as motorized vehicles, plus they also must deal with pedestrians, dogs, fixed objects, etc.
- Medical Malpractice—When a hospital or individual doctor, through error or neglect, does not provide the reasonable, expected level of care to a patient, medical malpractice can be the result. This can include, but is not limited to, emergency room mistakes, misdiagnosis, birth injuries, surgical errors, abuse or neglect, prescription drug or other medication errors, and defective medical devices.
- Slip and Fall Incidents—Property owners, whether residential or commercial, have a legal obligation to properly maintain their public-facing property in a safe condition.
- Work Related Accidents—If a worker dies due to an unsafe work environment, whether from faulty or poorly maintained equipment, lack of proper training, hazardous working conditions, or any type of negligence, it could be considered a wrongful death.
- Products Liability—Whether the fault is with the product designers, manufacturers, sellers, or all three, all parties involved must legally minimize the risk of harm from their products to consumers. Common product liability issues include defective vehicles, toxic food and beverages, dangerous pharmaceuticals, and unsafe product design, particularly for children.
- Criminal Acts—If a victim dies during or as the direct result of a criminal act, the perpetrator of that criminal act may be liable for wrongful death. That criminal act could be murder, but it could also be something like a robbery where the victim falls down and sustains a head injury.
Who can sue for wrongful death?
Much like with the legal definition of wrongful death, who can sue for wrongful death varies by state. In Ohio, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This could be a surviving spouse or child, or a parent if the deceased was a minor. There are strict requirements as to appointing a personal representative, and statute of limitations to consider, so hiring an attorney well versed in wrongful death litigation is crucial to a successful outcome.
When you contact a lawyer…
…be sure they have a deep understanding of the many facets of wrongful death law, and have the staff and resources needed to represent you to the fullest extent. Not all lawyers are created equally.
If a family member has been involved in a wrongful death incident, contact the attorneys at LaSalvia Law. We will fight to win you the compensation you deserve.