A wrongful death claim arises when someone is killed due to the actions or inactions of another person. The death can be either intentional or accidental, but most wrongful death suits occur because of an accident. This type of suit exists to compensate the family members for the loss of their loved one and includes compensation for lost wages, and any medical or funeral expenses. If you set out to be a lawyer, or are starting law school, you may end up working for a law firm such Meyer and Blumenshine, who deal with these sort of law suits all of the time. This may not be the type of suit you have ever thought about, but they are common practice in the United States.
A wrongful death claim also includes compensation for the loss associated with losing a loved one. Although monetary compensation can never replace a loved one, this is the only form of compensation the court can really offer grieving family members.
Unintentional Deaths Statistics in the United States
In 2013, there were 130,557 people that were killed unintentionally. Although most people would assume that motor vehicle accidents were the leading cause of death, unintentional poisoning was actually rated number one:
- Unintentional poisoning: 38,851
- Motor vehicle traffic deaths: 33,804
- Unintentional fall deaths: 30,208
In the same year, there were 4,585 fatal work injuries. Fortunately, this is the second-lowest amount that the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has recorded since it began tracking this information in 1992. It was also the lowest ratio based on a total number of workers and total number of hours worked. A large majority of the deaths that occurred were in the transportation and material moving occupations, and truck drivers make up a large portion of this occupation.
Medical Malpractice Statistics
Medical malpractice occurs when a medical professional (nurse, doctor, or other health care provider) does not treat a patient in a way that does not meet the standards of care for a similar medical professional. This usually occurs when a medical professional makes a mistake while treating a patient. In the United States alone, there are roughly 90,000 deaths due to medical malpractice every year, which means that roughly one in five medical errors will cause serious injury or death.
Birth defects, or congenital anomalies, are the leading cause of infant deaths. In 2013, there were 4,758 infant deaths caused by birth defects. Birth defects can be caused by a number of factors, but dangerous drugs are often to blame. Poor prenatal care or advice may also contribute and either of these causes could lead to a wrongful death claim.
Deaths Related to Falls
About 55% of all unintentional injury deaths for adults over age 65 were because of falls. Some of these falls could be the result of negligence in nursing homes, resulting in a wrongful death claim. There were 30,208 fall deaths in 2013, and many of these could create premises liability issues. If the fall occurred on someone else’s property, then there could have been a lawsuit involved.