Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Losing a loved one in a tragic accident is heartbreaking. Although bringing forward a wrongful death lawsuit won’t bring them back or ease the pain of their loss, it can go a long way towards funeral expenses, any medical bills, and replacing lost wages. Such incidents may include the gross negligence of a company or individual. Bringing a lawsuit is often important to help the wrong doer understand the significance of their actions and to insist that they don’t continue their dangerous habits and practices. Pursuing such claims will definitely help to protect others and their families from suffering the same fate as you have experienced. Here’s your guide to who may be able to be held responsible in a wrongful death claim.

Determining Fault

Three issues must be addressed in order to determine if someone is at fault for another individual’s death.

Did Duty of Care Exist?

The first issue that must be established in a wrongful death case is if the individual or entity that caused the death owed a duty of care to the deceased. For example, drivers owe a duty to care to other individuals on the road, including bicycle riders and pedestrians. Doctors owe a duty of care to their patients, and public property owners owe a duty of care to their patrons.

Was There a Breach of Duty of Care?

The next issue that must be established is if the individual or entity that owed a duty of care to the deceased violated that duty of care. For example, did the individual or entity act in a reasonable manner similar to what another individual or entity in the same situation would do? If a doctor misdiagnosed a patient and it resulted in their death, but another doctor with similar credentials and training would have acted differently, this suggests that the doctor breached the duty of care owed to the patient.

Was the Death Directly Related to the Breach of Duty of Care?

The third issue that must be established is if the breach of duty of care was related to the passing of the deceased. In the above example, if the patient who was misdiagnosed passed away due to a completely separate condition, it could increase the likelihood that the doctor would not be found to be at fault for the patient’s death.

Examples of At-Fault Parties in Wrongful Death Cases

If all of the above criteria are met, an individual or entity may be considered at-fault for the passing of the deceased. Examples of at-fault parties in wrongful death cases can include but are not limited to:

  • Motor vehicle drivers
  • Motorcycle riders
  • Tractor trailer drivers
  • Pharmaceutical companies
  • Store owners and other public property owners
  • Private property owners
  • Doctors
  • Nurses
  • Hospitals
  • Product manufacturers
  • Product distributors and sellers

When to Contact an Attorney

If your loved one has passed away in a tragic accident through no fault of their own, you may be able to obtain justice for your loved one’s death if the negligence of another person or entity was to blame. Dealing with insurance companies and their adjusters can be significantly stressful. In addition, there are issues related to probating an estate. Do not handle this matters without discussing the issues with one of our attorneys. There is no cost for an initial consultation. During the consultation, you will be able to ask questions and learn about the variety of issues important to the specific facts of your claim.

There are different methods of resolving a wrongful death claim which depending on the facts of the claim can help or prevent you from pursuing all available insurance or proceeds. It is critical to be aware of the options in resolving a claim. Don’t go this alone.

At Guest & Brady, LLC, our compassionate wrongful death lawyers will zealously pursue every option available to you for compensation to help you cover the extensive financial damages you’re likely facing. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death and get the legal support you need by calling (864) 233-7200.