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Different Kinds of Wrongful Death Cases

wrongful death

Wrongful Death Cases

Losing a loved one causes inexpressible pain, which is all the more hard to accept when the death occurs due to someone else’s intentional or incidental conduct. There are different factors and situations at the core of such wrongful death cases.

Wrongful death claims may fall into different classifications and categories and depending on the specific case, the perpetrator can be charged with criminal penalties and/or assessed monetary liability and be required to compensate the heirs of the estate of the decedent. 

Every wrongful death attorney deals with wrongful death cases differently, yet the most common types of wrongful death occurrences are caused by an individual actor or commercial enterprise.

Typical wrongful death cases can arise from:

  • Medical malpractice
  • Child care abuse or child negligent
  • Malfunctioning or dangerous products
  • Motor vehicle, boat, or aviation accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Selling defective products
  • Exposure to poisonous and hazardous chemicals and chemical spills
  • Electrocution
  • Dangerous machines
  • Workplace accidents or exploitation
  • Intentional assault
  • Slip and falls and falling objects

Note that this list is not all-inclusive- just know that any kind of negligent act that causes death may constitute a wrongful death claim. 

Common terms in wrongful death cases

It may be hard to find exact causes and categories for certain types of wrongful death claims under a particular law.  Below are some common terms, applications, and comparisons so you can understand the scenario appropriately. 

General negligence vs. Medical malpractice

In simple terms, general negligence requires a showing that the actor breached his/her duty of care to another individual, such as failing to operate a motor vehicle according to the traffic rules, which results in a collision and injuries.  Conversely, medical malpractice law imposes a higher duty of care on medical providers such as in diagnosing illnesses and performing surgical procedures.  If the medical provider’s conduct falls below the standards set in the medical community, which directly and proximately a patient an injury or death, the medical professional could be accountable for medical malpractice. 

Economic vs. Non-economic damages 

Economic damages (also known as special damages) result in medical bills, lost wages, lost earning capacity, and property damage.  Whereas non-economic damages (also known as general damages) are intangible losses which include physical injuries, pain and suffering, and loss of enjoyment of life.  

Compensatory vs. Exemplary damages

Wrongful death claims can be categorized according to compensatory versus exemplary damages.  As the word indicates, Compensatory damages are given to compensate for the harms and losses suffered and sustained.  Exemplary or punitive damages, is the award given to victims when the conduct of the individual who caused the victim harm is willfully malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent, wanton, or grossly reckless. 

Kinds of damages for wrongful death cases

The kind of damages that a sufferer’s family can claim varies according to experience, competence and abilities of your attorney.  However, a few common damages include:

  • Funeral costs
  • Property damage
  • Missing health benefits 
  • Exemplary/punitive damages
  • Unearned income
  • Emotional anguish and grief
  • Pain and suffering of family members
  • Value of services the deceased is provided

 Through legal action, the victim’s family can demand payment as compensation.

Key takeaways

Wrongful death claims require the skill, experience and competence of good counsel since the surviving family of wrongful death victims are traumatized and often unable to rationally process the significant loss from having a father, mother, son or daughter and even they don’t know how their tragedy can be compensated appropriately.  The skilled attorney must help explain the claim process, the compensation the surviving members are entitled to, and to also help the family navigate through the claim and litigation process.