Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

A look at what constitutes a "wrongful death", the most common circumstances in which one can occur, and what the next steps should be for the bereaved.

A wrongful death occurs when a person dies due to carelessness, negligence, or the willful act of another person or entity. Family members of a person whose death could have been avoided can file wrongful death claims.

There are several things that can result in wrongful death cases; below are the most common ones.

1. Automobile accidents

Car accidents are the most common cause of wrongful deaths in the United States. Over 38,000 people die in traffic accidents every year in the US. Distracted, aggressive, drunk, or impaired drivers, as well as road construction, are the main causes of wrongful deaths on the road.

2. Medical malpractice

Medical malpractice is another major cause of wrongful deaths. It happens when a hospital or physician fails to provide an accepted standard of care. Typically, a healthcare provider is expected to ensure proper treatment, diagnosis, and prescriptions. However, even small mistakes in prescriptions, diagnosis, and treatment can result in wrongful death. Extreme cases include anesthesia and surgical errors. Other common medical malpractice mistakes include:

  • Birth injury
  • Abuse or neglect
  • Defective medical device
  • Wrongful medication

Healthcare providers are trusted to offer standard care and treatment. It can be very traumatic to lose a family member due to a medical error by a physician who is trusted to improve the patient’s life. If this is proven, surviving family members can recover damages as compensation for their loss.

3. Airplane accidents

Plane crashes are another cause of wrongful deaths. Airplane accidents can occur due to defective parts of a plane, poor plane design, or pilots’ negligence. Wrongful death lawsuits as a result of airplane accidents are usually complicated. This is due to identifying the liable party. Normally, victims’ families sue the airline company. If the accident occurred due to a pilot’s negligence, the airline company could be sued for negligent hiring, training, and supervision. Manufacturers can also be held responsible if the crash resulted from a defective part or aircraft.

4. Workplace accidents

Wrongful death can occur due to faulty equipment, improper training, illness due to unsafe environment, fires, and explosions. Other workplace accidents that can result in wrongful death include exposure to dangerous chemicals and falling debris.

5. Product liability

Manufacturers, suppliers, distributors, and retailers are liable if they manufacture, supply, distribute, or sell defective products that result in wrongful death. Product liabilities claims include:

  • Design defect
  • Manufacturing defect
  • Failure to warn customers of defects

6. Nursing homes

Negligence by health care providers in nursing homes is another cause of wrongful deaths. If a person loses their life due to the negligence of a healthcare provider, the nursing home and the caregiver can be held responsible for the death.


If you feel that a family member passed away wrongfully, you can consult an experienced wrongful death lawyer to discuss your rights and options. There are several aspects that should be considered before filing a wrongful death claim. It is, therefore, necessary to hire a lawyer to guide you through this legal process.

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