Negligence and recklessness are usually what cause injuries in cases like car accidents and medical malpractice. In some cases, unfortunately, negligence can lead to someone’s avoidable death. Surviving family members of these victims are left without a loved one, as well as their support and income.
The wrongful death attorneys at Morgan & Morgan have helped loved ones of the victim recover compensation for their losses in times of need. Our Boston lawyers represent spouses, parents, children, and others who have lost their loved ones, and are now dealing with costly medical bills, funeral expenses, and a loss of household income. Our years of experience allow us to find out whether or not your situation is grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, and who may have been at fault.
If you lost your loved one in an accident, contact our attorneys today to see if you could file a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Cases Do We Handle?
Wrongful death cases are based on the theory that another person or entity’s negligence contributed to or directly caused the victim’s death. The negligence comes from acting in a way that a reasonable person in the same situation would not have.
For example, a driver who kills another driver while driving far too fast was negligent and reckless, as a reasonable driver would be following the speed limit. Many different personal injury cases can also be wrongful death cases. Accidents involving any motor vehicles - cars, motorcycles, trucks, etc. - can become wrongful death cases if it’s determined that the negligence of one driver caused the fatality. Cases like this can include:
- Distracted driving;
- Drunk driving or driving under the influence of drugs;
- Failure to yield;
- Defective auto parts; or
- Failure to maintain vehicle.
Medical malpractice situations can also be wrongful death cases, with a number of different parties potentially at fault. Negligence in these instances is more dangerous than other situations. The actions of a medical professional, the conditions of a hospital, and other factors can come into play. Negligence in these instances that can cause wrongful deaths include:
- Misdiagnosis or delayed diagnosis;
- Failure to properly read a patient’s medical charts;
- Botched surgery;
- Defective medical devices;
- Administering a drug that conflicts with another drug the patient has taken;
- Failure to order a standard test;
- Failure to perform a timely C-section; or
- Administering the wrong amount of anesthesia.
Who May Be At Fault in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The parties that you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against depending on the circumstances includes, but is not limited to:
- Neglectful Drivers: With enough proof of negligence on the part of another driver - which involves a thorough investigation and gathering evidence - you may be able to file a lawsuit against a driver that caused the death of your loved one, often going through their insurance company.
- Automobile Manufacturers: If the wrongful death was caused by faulty or defective parts and manufacturing in a vehicle, it is possible that the manufacturer could be held liable.
- Trucking Companies: According to information from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 8 percent of Massachusetts’ traffic fatalities in 2015 involved a collision with a large truck. Trucking companies are liable for the actions of their employees, and if the company acts negligently and does something like have its drivers on the road with inadequate rest, they may be held responsible if the driver causes an accident with a fatality.
- Doctors: This includes general care practitioners, surgeons, specialists, and anesthesiologists. They are often not considered hospital staff, and in the event of negligence on their part they can be sued separately.
- Hospitals & Nursing Homes: With other staff members, the hospital or home is often liable for their actions, especially if job applicants are not properly screened, and an employee’s inexperience leads to a patient’s death. This also applies to a staff member failing to adequately monitor or care for the patient.
- Medical Device & Pharmaceutical Manufacturers: The companies that manufacture either medical devices or pharmaceuticals are responsible for ensuring that their product does not have any design or manufacturing defects. An unclear warning of the product that gives the doctor and patient a poor understanding of the risks of the product can lead to serious consequences.
What Compensation Can I Recover?
The specifics of a wrongful death case will ultimately determine the compensation you may be able to recover in a lawsuit. These can include the medical expenses incurred prior to death, the age of the deceased, surviving family members, and the amount of financial support and companionship the deceased offered.
Those involved in a wrongful death lawsuit - spouses, parents, children - may be eligible for compensation for the following forms of damages:
- Medical expenses;
- Funeral expenses;
- Pain and suffering;
- Lost income (including future earnings);
- Loss of benefits; or
- Loss of companionship.
Morgan & Morgan May Be Able to Help You
Taking legal action after an unexpected loss may not seem like a top priority, but it is important to contact a lawyer as soon as possible to ensure that you are protected in the future. Contact our Boston office to learn more about whether or not you can file a wrongful death lawsuit.