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How to Prove Fault in Common Wrongful Death Claims

Updated August 18, 2020 | By Wilson Kehoe Winingham staff

In a wrongful death case, proving fault can be difficult. In can be especially tough when the accident appears to border on someone else’s negligence or a mistake on behalf of the deceased. Or, it can be hard simply because the situation is emotional. Depending on who died, it’s possible to file lawsuits and get damages for funeral, legal, and medical expenses, lost wages, and other related costs.

The most important requirement for a wrongful death case is that the death resulted from the actions of another party. The following list will provide examples of how to prove wrongful death in some of the most common situations found in wrongful death cases.

Who Is at Fault for a Wrongful Death Case?

There are a number of ways in which another person, company, or entity can be liable for wrongful death—as long as it can be proven that their actions were negligent or intentional. The determining factor comes down to how the victim died and in what types of situation, such as in an auto accident, due to medical malpractice, in a construction or work accident, and or due to dangerous products.

Proving Fault in Car Accidents

In a case where a commercial truck or taxi driver causes a fatal accident, it’s possible to hold the driver’s employer responsible for the death. If the fatal accident involved the vehicle itself—like a defective part—the company that made the vehicle may be responsible. If a victim is killed by a drunk driver, proving fault is very likely. For states that have vehicular manslaughter laws, such as Indiana, it’s possible that the state will file criminal charges against the driver.

Proving Fault in Medical Malpractice

If a doctor or other healthcare provider failed in any way to fulfill the expected standard of care to a patient—including misdiagnoses, surgical mistakes, and wrong prescriptions—you might be able to take action against them in a wrongful death suit.

Anesthesia is another field of medicine where medical malpractice can occur. It’s crucial that a patient gets the right dose of anesthesia during a procedure. A minor misstep could be fatal to a patient. If the anesthesiologist issues a dose that results in death, they could be held liable.

Proving Fault in Construction and Work-Related Accidents

Whether it was in a workplace or a residence, it’s possible that building materials are faulty and can therefore cause injury or death. Construction companies are responsible for making sure buildings are safe and up to code. If someone died due to poor construction, a case of wrongful death could be pursued.

If the deceased worked in an environment where safety protocols weren’t in place—such as protective gear or training for dangerous machinery, for example—suing the employer may be an option.

Proving Fault in Defective Products

Even if a workplace did have safety protocols and trained its employees properly, a product could still be the cause of death. It might be possible to hold a manufacturer or designer liable if a machine was built with a defective part and caused a fatal accident. If a car seat was the cause of death due to a lack of instructions or a preventable malfunction, for example, a manufacturer or designer could be at fault.

Contact a Wrongful Death Attorney Today

If any of these situations are familiar, contact an attorney. Every case of wrongful death is unique—even if they can be described by the above situations. The details of a loved one’s death should be discussed in detail with a lawyer who has dealt with wrongful death cases. Additionally, there are different laws and timelines for every state, so it’s equally important to find a lawyer who is familiar with state laws.

If your loved one has been killed due to someone’s negligence, contact an Indianapolis wrongful death lawyer from Wilson Kehoe Winingham. The lawyers at WKW can help you and your family get the compensation you deserve. Call 317.920.6400 or fill out an online contact form for a free, no-obligation case evaluation.

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