Wrongful death claims are brought against a defendant who has caused someone’s death either negligently or through intentional harm. Wrongful death claims allow the estate of the deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death. The suit is usually filed by a representative of the estate, on behalf of surviving family members and other affected parties.
When Is a Wrongful Death Claim Applicable?
A wrongful death claim is applicable when a victim who would otherwise have a personal injury claim is killed as a result of either negligence or an intentional harmful act on the part of the defendant. This can occur in a variety of situations, including:
When a victim is intentionally killed. For example, OJ Simpson was sued for wrongful death for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. The case was based on an intentional act.
When a victim dies as a result of medical malpractice. If a doctor failed to diagnose a condition, or if the doctor was careless in the level of care provided, and death resulted, then a wrongful death action can be brought against the doctor.
Car accident fatalities involving negligence. If a victim dies as a result of car accident injuries, a wrongful death claim may be brought.
These are just a few examples of personal injury cases that can turn into wrongful death claims. A wrongful death claim can stem from almost any kind of personal injury situation, although one notable exception exists for work injuries that result in death, which usually must be handled exclusively through the worker’s compensation system.