The death of a loved one can be distressing and stressful enough, but the knowledge that the death was caused by the negligence, carelessness, or misconduct of another individual or group can make the situation even worse. This is known as wrongful death, and although the death of a loved one from any means is hard to take, knowing that the death was unnecessary and could have been avoided is even worse.
A wrongful death lawsuit is one that is filed by the next of kin or family of the deceased when it is believed that the death was caused by negligence, carelessness or misconduct. We have probably all read about or come across cases of wrongful death – cases such as:
Death caused by exposure to a hazardous substance through negligence (e.g. asbestos, benzene, etc.)
Death caused by reaction to a drug (e.g. Vioxx, Bextra, etc.)
Death caused by medical negligence or malpractice
Death caused by a road traffic accident through careless driving or negligence of another
Death caused by defective products through the negligence or carelessness of a manufacturer
There are many different cases of wrongful death, and in simple terms that can be defined as an unnecessary death that came about only as a result of another’s carelessness, negligence, misconduct, or actions. Wrongful death can refer to an instant death or can refer to a slow death, such as those caused by drug side effects or exposure to hazardous materials and substances.
Examples of wrongful death that we may have come across in recent times include those that die from mesothelioma caused by asbestos exposure due to the negligence of manufacturers or companies. Also, those killed through the side effects of drugs, such as those that have been in the headlines lately: cox-2 inhibitors, Vioxx and Bextra. Lawyers also deal with wrongful death claims on a regular basis when people die through exposure to other substances such as Benzene or welding rod fumes caused through negligence and carelessness of another individual or group.
Quite rightly, the loved ones and family of those that die in this way are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Losing a loved one is very stressful in itself, but the untimely death of loved one caused by others is something for which the family should be compensated. If the deceased was the breadwinner of the family, not only do the loved ones have to cope with the loss but also with financial hardship caused by the lack of income.
There are now many lawyers that deal with wrongful death claims, and these could relate to any form of wrongful death, from exposure and side effects to road accidents and malpractice. In short, if the death was caused by another’s carelessness, negligence, misconduct, or actions (whether the other is an individual, employer, contractor, company, manufacturer etc.) then the family may be entitled to claim for compensation.
If a member of your family has suffered what could be construed as a wrongful death, it is advisable to see legal assistance as soon as possible in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Even if you are unsure as to whether you have grounds for compensation, an experienced lawyer within this field will be able to assess the facts and determine whether you have grounds to file for compensation for wrongful death.
Many lawyers now offer free initial consultations, so you can determine the viability of your case without having to pay anything. An experienced lawyer can then draw on past experience to put together a solid case relating to the death of your loved one, and can work towards getting compensation for the grief, pain, suffering and financial hardship caused by the wrongful death.
The death of a family member can be quite distressing, but if the person suffered wrongful death then it is only right that the surviving family is compensated in some way – not just for the unnecessary pain, suffering, mental anguish and grief, but also for the financial hardship that may arise through the loss of your loved one.
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