What is a wrongful death case? Freshly after the occurrence of the passing of a loved one, it can seem like their death, no matter the cause, should be considered wrongful. Early on in the grieving process (or later, as grief is not the same for everyone) you may be left reeling, wondering how or why this could have happened, or searching for someone to blame.
When it comes to the legal field, though, a “wrongful death case” has a very specific definition, and not all deaths fall underneath this umbrella. In other words, just because your loved one has passed away does not mean that you can seek financial compensation for lost wages or pain and suffering. As wrongful as all deaths can feel, the law in this sense only covers deaths caused by the negligence or recklessness of another party.
If you aren’t currently struggling through the emotional aftermath of a recent death, you may think that this is common sense. After all, doesn’t the word wrongful imply that someone is directly at fault for the incident, and that the loved one in question shouldn't otherwise have died? However, as wrongful death lawyers, we know that grief certainly can cloud judgement in some cases, especially if you experience any sort of anger or desire to blame. It’s important, then, for all people, especially if they haven’t recently suffered a loss, to learn a bit about the common types of wrongful death cases so that they are better able to make sound legal decisions in the future. One day, you might find yourself grieving and be therefore unable to determine if you need the help of a wrongful death attorney. It pays to study up early.
If you’re reading this post and have recently lost a loved one, though, JD Haas, is here to help, no matter where you are emotionally. Our well-educated team of car accident lawyers, personal injury lawyers, and wrongful death attorneys is ready to approach your case with compassion and gentleness, and we offer free case evaluations to anyone in need. If you’re ever unsure about if you have a viable case or not, simply give us a call and we will determine that for you. Don’t be afraid; at our office, we place a strong emphasis on creating a welcoming, respectful, non-judgemental environment in which you feel at peace. We’ve been wrongful death lawyers for years, and we know how to give each death case the care it deserves.
That being said, if you’re in this camp, it never hurts to educate yourself on common types of wrongful death cases—you can, in some cases, benefit from it just as much as the people who haven’t recently endured a loss. Thus, for the benefit of all, below we dive into the details of some common causes of wrongful deaths and what determines if something is a wrongful death in a given context.
Wrongful Deaths: Caused by Negligence or Recklessness
Though all states have different laws in place surrounding the concept of wrongful death, a good rule of thumb is that, if the death was caused by the negligence or reckless behavior of another party, it’s likely to be considered a wrongful death. We can’t stress enough how important the help of a wrongful death lawyer is in determining this, though. Law is complicated and nuanced, and you’re far better off seeking qualified help early on than trying to figure anything out on your own.
That said, as we stated earlier, it never hurts to educate oneself. A few common causes of wrongful death include:
● Workplace hazards. The Occupational Health and Safety Administration (or OSHA, for short) declares in the General Duty Clause of the OSH Act that workers are legally entitled to a safe place to do their jobs (though this law does not apply to absolutely all fields), and that employers are obligated to provide such a workspace. Failure to do so can result in a wrongful death—a death caused by the negligence of another party. If a loved one passes away at work, there’s a good chance you could have a wrongful death case on your hands.
● Pedestrian accidents. When you hit the road, you have a legal obligation to practice due care and to obey all traffic laws. Failure to do so and thus ending the life of a pedestrian can qualify as a wrongful death case, but this does depend on any applicable state-specific definitions of reckless driving and the like.
● Damage incurred via an animal’s aggression. Though this area of law is filled with grey areas, generally speaking, if a loved one passes away due to injuries inflicted by someone else’s animal, wrongful death can come into play. Contact a reputable wrongful death lawyer for more information on this.
JD Haas is Here to Help You Through
Think you may have a wrongful death case on your hands? Give our Minneapolis office a call now at 952-345-1025. We also serve the Saint Paul, Bloomington, and Rochester areas.