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Bringing justice to those at fault: what to do in case of wrongful death

Author: Heather Shipp
Published: Dec 9 2012

Wrongful death situations occur when a person, place or thing is directly or indirectly responsible for the death of another party, usually due to negligence. When these situations occur, though they may be calculated and pre-meditated from a plaintiff perspective, it comes as quite the unexpected surprise for the victim. It's hard to know where to start when building a case especially as bringing the defendant to justice is time sensitive. The specifics on the laws vary from state to state, but justice and monetary compensation to the victim’s survivors is the ideal resulting consequence. Here are a few key pointers to start you on your way:

Medical Negligence

Medical negligence is a common occurrence when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits. In many of the instances, the physician, medical staff or hospital is at fault, and they may have done something wrong while caring for a patient who ultimately died while under their care. The following are several examples of medical errors:

- Failure to diagnose a disease or injury
- Surgical errors and complications
- Misdiagnosis
- Infections or sepsis spread via the hospital or treatment facility
- Failure to treat a disease or illness in a timely manner resulting in a stroke or heart attack
- Birth and labor injuries

According to our Montgomery injury attorney source, once a party seeks legal counsel and files a lawsuit, but especially in the case of wrongful death, where accurate details can be hard to come by, they must prove their case beyond a shadow of a doubt in court to receive maximum deserved compensation. Collecting and presenting viable evidence that is admissible in court is key in winning the case and can include witness testimony, proper medical documentation, police reports and any other important evidence that directly pertains to the case.

Workplace Errors

Another common form of a wrongful death lawsuit is due to work related fatalities. In these instances, the employer is typically at fault and it behooves the family of the victim to prove negligence on the part of the employer. The laws are extremely explicit in most cases, especially when they pertain to offshore oil rigs, the handling of dangerous chemicals, farmers, loggers, mechanics, truck drivers and construction workers. Forms of negligence can include, but are not limited to:

- Improper training on equipment
- Improperly inspected/maintained equipment thereby rendering it unsafe for use
- Hazardous work environment

Once a claim is filed with an attorney, a third party investigation will be conducted that may require OSHA to become involved. Any and all evidence comes into play, and a lawyer who specializes in these types situations is necessary in order to ensure that nothing of or related to the case is altered or destroyed throughout the investigation.

Reckless Driving

Automobile accidents are another part of a wrongful death case should a collision occur that proves to be fatal. Elements of a wrongful death lawsuit vary, but generally include one of the following:

- Recklessness due to speeding, driving too fast for conditions or failure to follow traffic laws
- Driver of the offending vehicle was under the influence of drugs or alcohol

Living members of the family have suffered pain, emotional distress or financial ruin due to the death of their loved one. Witnesses, police reports, autopsy and toxicology diagnosis and other key evidence are all necessary when you are trying to prove your case and seeking monetary compensation.

Product Negligence

Wrongful death cases can be the result of the use of a product. Often, manufacturers fail to warn consumers of faulty product complaints on a new line of offerings and are held liable for those who die as a result of its malfunction. The product offerings typically fall under one of the following categories:

- Automobiles and automotive parts
- Consumer products
- Medical items
- Machine and Industrial parts
- Food
- Pharmaceutical products

Claims specific to wrongful death lawsuits run the gamut from operator error to design defects to manufacturing complications to improper marketing and failure to disclose pertinent information. Negligence by way of malpractice, or carelessness, among other things are common causes in cases of wrongful death. Though fatalities are unintentional more often than they are intentional, the defendant is still responsible and justice must be served and that includes providing compensation as an act of recompense for wrongdoing.

Heather Shipp is a consciously objective blogger and contributes this report supporting efforts of McMahon, McMahon and Lentz, a Montgomery injury attorney firm who offers experienced and efficient legal advice with regard to accidents and personal injury.  The Pennsylvania based attorney prides itself on helping you to understand your rights so that, together with you, they can help in the fight for what you deserve.

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