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Three Common Types of Wrongful Death Cases and Their Causes

Many fatalities in the U.S. happen by accident and are completely preventable. In 2019, for example, approximately 1,338 fatalities in California were due to alcohol-impaired driving. Among all driver fatalities that same year, 50 percent of those who were tested for legal and illegal drug use came out positive.

For these types of cases, our wrongful death attorneys will negotiate and defend your rights to fair compensation for the financial and emotional damages caused by someone else’s negligence or misconduct.

Where Can Wrongful Death Happen?

Wrongful deaths can occur whenever people who carry some responsibility for the welfare of others become neglectful of their duties. Wrongful deaths can also happen because of oversight.

Whether there was willful intent to neglect their duties or not, if someone died because of another person’s actions (or in some cases, lack of action), the people responsible can be sued for wrongful death. If proven guilty, they may also be liable to pay damages to the family of the deceased.

The most common wrongful death cases in California can be classified into the following:

  1. Wrongful death due to negligence

Negligence of duty in the workplace, on the road, or even at home can lead to accidental and avoidable deaths. Car accidents and workplace-related accidents are arguably the most common.

The CDC reports that unintentional injury is the leading cause of death in the U.S. for ages 1 – 44, from 1981 to 2019. A closer look at their data shows that motor vehicle traffic accidents are the top cause of death (30 percent) for all ages in the U.S. from 1999 to 2019. Poisoning, falls, fires, and natural environments are among the Top 10 causes of death, while machinery, cuts or pierces, and overexertion are in the Top 20. These are incidents that can easily take place in the workplace.

  1. Medical malpractice

When a medical professional entrusted with a patient’s treatment causes the latter harm instead, they can be sued for medical malpractice.

Medical malpractice laws vary per state, but there are some common ground or general principles that are consistent across the U.S.:

  • There must be a doctor-patient relationship.
  • The doctor had been negligent and deviated from the standard practice of care.
  • The doctor’s negligence harmed the patient and caused a fatal injury.

It’s worth noting that mere dissatisfaction with the doctor’s care doesn’t qualify as malpractice. The surviving family must prove that it was the doctor’s negligence and not the patient’s illness that caused the death. Proving this in court will require the strategies of a wrongful death lawyer specializing in medical malpractice.

  1. Product liability

Faulty consumer products can be harmful. Unhygienic food preparation can lead to food poisoning. Careless assembly of a child’s car seat can fatally injure an infant. Faulty wiring in electrical tools and appliances can start a fire or physically injure users. Defects in a car’s design can lead to fatal car accidents.

In these examples, the makers of the consumer products have clear liability for the fatalities that their products caused. It must be proven, however, that a victim purchased the goods in good faith and followed all instructions regarding their safe use or consumption. Wrongful death attorneys must prove that the product defect caused the death so that the manufacturers can be held liable.

Get Justice for a Wrongful Death with Haffner Law

Whether a wrongful death falls under any of the three examples above or not, Haffner Law’s wrongful death attorneys can help the surviving families seek compensation and financial relief.

As your wrongful death attorney, we will also negotiate for a just settlement from the defendant. Money won’t make up for the pain of losing someone you love, but it can alleviate your financial burden (e.g., burial costs, unpaid hospital bills).

Reach out for a free consult and have our experienced wrongful death attorneys defend your wrongful death claim or lawsuit.

(This is an attorney advertisement by Joshua Haffner)

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