The Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Father hugging his children after wrongful death accident

Unintentional injuries cause thousands of deaths each year. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 200,995 unintentional injury deaths¹ occurred in the United States in 2020. These fatal injuries happen in many ways. If a victim dies from their injuries, the victim’s surviving family members may claim financial compensation from those responsible.

Our Tampa personal injury attorneys share common wrongful death examples and types of wrongful death claims that occur the most.

1. Slip and Falls

The CDC also reports that 42,114 unintentional falls occurred in the year 2020. According to their statistics, more deaths occur from unintentional falls than motor vehicle accidents.

When a fall occurs because of the negligence of another party, they may be liable for a slip and fall wrongful death claim. There are several ways that another party may be legally responsible for a slip and fall, including:

  • Failing to clear debris from a walkway
  • Leaving items in a path
  • Dim lighting
  • Crowding a space too closely

If you’ve suddenly lost a loved one in an accident, contact our lawyers for wrongful death lawsuits to see how we can help you get justice.

2. Car, SUV, and Truck Accidents

According to the CDC, motor vehicle accidents accounted for 40,698 deaths in 2020. Car, SUV, and truck accidents are particularly deadly because they occur at a high rate of speed. The standards of negligence apply to determine fault for the accident.

Very few automobile accidents happen on purpose. However, an accident may be enough to give the victim’s family grounds to claim financial compensation by filing a wrongful death claim. Driving errors like speeding, unsafe lane changes, and following too closely can be grounds for legal liability when a car accident wrongful death occurs.

3. Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents

A pedestrian or a bicyclist doesn’t have the protection of a motor vehicle when they are in an accident. Even at a low rate of speed, a crash can be deadly. Pedestrian and bicycle accidents occur in large numbers at intersections and other points on the roads.

Vehicle drivers have a legal obligation to drive carefully, accounting for the fact that pedestrians may be on the roads. When a crash occurs, survivors may claim financial based on the legal fault of the responsible driver.

4. Construction/Workplace Accidents

Construction Worker with hardhat

About 20% of workplace deaths occur in the construction industry. That accounts for more than 1,000 construction deaths each year and a total of 5,333 worker deaths in all industries in 2019, according to OSHA². Even with OSHA requirements to promote safety in the workplace, construction industry deaths are still an ongoing concern.

There are a lot of causes of wrongful death in the construction industry, including:

  • Failing to use adequate fall protection
  • Poor communication of hazards and standard work process
  • Lack of respiratory protection
  • Scaffolding and ladder failures
  • Poor control of hazardous energy
  • Stuck between and crushing accidents
  • Lack of personal protective equipment, including eye and face protection
  • Failing to properly maintain machinery and prevent unauthorized use

Fortunately, construction industry wrongful death accidents have declined over the years. In 1970, 38 worker deaths occurred per day. Today, approximately 15 deaths occur per day (OSHA). However, even one death is still too many.

If you lost a family member in a work or construction accident, call our Tampa wrongful death lawyers for a FREE case evaluation to see how we can help.

5. Assault and Battery

When an assault and battery results in death, the victim’s family may bring a wrongful death claim. There are different legal standards for criminal and civil cases, so the family may bring a wrongful death claim regardless of whether law enforcement brings criminal charges.

Bringing a civil case for a criminal attack and intentional wrongful death does not depend on whether law enforcement brings charges against the person responsible. An assault and battery claim can be an appropriate way for the victim’s family to find answers and seek justice.

Our lawyers can help you understand what constitutes wrongful death, investigate the circumstances, and develop a strategy for how to best honor your loved one and pursue justice with this type of accidental death case.

Related: Average Wrongful Death Settlement

6. Product Liability/Dangerous Products

We rely on the products we use to help us in life. Unfortunately, these products can turn deadly. There are several legal grounds for pursuing a product liability wrongful death lawsuit, including:

  • A poorly designed product
  • A mistake in the manufacturing process
  • Failing to warn people about how to use the item properly

A product liability claim doesn’t necessarily depend on whether a product fails to conform to government standards. Our lawyers can help you investigate how the accident occurred and bring a product liability claim on behalf of survivors.

7. Medical Malpractice

An article published by the National Libraries of Medicine³ reports that medical malpractice may result in as many as 251,000 deaths in the United States each year. When people seek medical care, they have the right to expect their care providers to be competent and devote a reasonable amount of attention to their work. When mistakes occur, medical care providers may be liable.

There are several ways wrongful death can occur because of medical malpractice, including:

  • Mixing up patient charts
  • Making prescription errors
  • Failing to inform a patient of possible outcomes before treatment
  • Not taking a patient’s health history into account when making decisions

8. Toxic Exposure

Prolonged exposure to harmful substances can result in wrongful death long after the person encounters the dangerous substance. Toxic exposure may occur in the workplace, in the home, or in other places.

It may not always be immediately obvious that the cause of death is from toxic exposure. Our lawyers can help you investigate and gather evidence to hold those responsible accountable for the wrongful death because of toxic exposure.

Understanding the Types of Wrongful Death Claims

consulting with Tampa Elder Law Attorney

By understanding the most common causes of wrongful death, families can begin to explore if they have a legal claim. There are many ways injuries occur and many types of wrongful death claims.

If you have lost a loved one to an accident, we invite you to contact our wrongful death lawyers to talk about your case. We can answer your questions about:

  • What is considered wrongful death
  • Unlawful death definition
  • Wrongful death lawsuit examples
  • Who can bring a wrongful death claim
  • Why hire an attorney for wrongful death claims
  • If you can claim financial compensation
  • How to hold the responsible party accountable for what has happened

If you’ve lost a loved one, you are not alone. Contact us for your free and confidential consultation today.

Sources:

¹Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (24 January 2022). Accidents or Unintentional Injuries. Retrieved 7 February 2022.

²Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Commonly Used Statistics. United States Department of Labor. Retrieved 7 February 2022.

³Anderson JG, Abrahamson K. (2017). Your Health Care May Kill You: Medical Errors. Stud Health Technol Inform. 2017;234:13-17. PMID: 28186008. Retrieved 7 February 2022.

The information contained herein is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice. Seek competent legal counsel for advice on any legal matter.

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