The loss of a loved one is always a devastating experience; however, when the death of that loved one is sudden and caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional action of another person or business, it can leave you feeling absolutely broken. Whether you are the surviving family member of a loved one or the representative of that person’s estate, a wrongful death claim can be brought against the person or entity who caused your loved one’s death. One or more parties can likely be held liable and under Texas law, and wrongful death claims are the best way to move forward with holding them accountable for your loved one’s tragic passing. Knowing and understanding the causes of wrongful death can help you know if your family should reach out to an experienced trial lawyer for assistance.
The following are the top five causes of wrongful death:
- Car Accidents
The most common cause of wrongful death in the United States is car accidents. According to the National Safety Council, over 38,000 people die in traffic related accidents each year in the U.S. In Texas, the leading cause of wrongful death is also auto accidents, with more than 3,600 people dying each year in car, truck, motorcycle, or bus accidents. That is nearly 10 people dying each day in our state due to roadway crashes. If a person is driving while distracted, aggressively or recklessly, or is driving while drunk or otherwise impaired, they can be considered to be driving in a negligent manner as they are not upholding their duty of care to others on the road. The at fault party in a car accident, if determined to be driving negligently, can be held liable for the wrongful death of another person caused by that accident.
- Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice is another one of the significant causes of wrongful death in the United States and is seen far too often in the legal realm. When a hospital or medical practitioner fails to provide care that meets a certain standard, they can be considered negligent in their duties. Medical providers including doctors, nurses, assistants, and others are expected to provide the appropriate treatment and diagnosis of all medical conditions brought to them. However, if the smallest mistake is made when diagnosing a patient, prescribing medications, determining a treatment method, performing surgery, administering anesthesia, or any other medically related procedure, this can lead to the wrongful death of the patient. Other common medical errors that can lead to wrongful death include injuries during the birth of a child, the abuse or neglect of a patient, and defective or poorly maintained medical devices. It can be incredibly traumatic and heartbreaking to lose a loved one due to a medical error made by someone who is trusted to take care of their patients.
- Workplace Accidents
One of the last places anyone would expect to lose their life is at their workplace. Unfortunately, workplace accidents do occur and can be incredibly serious, leading to the wrongful death of an employee. Workplace deaths can occur due to a lack of appropriate worker training, faulty equipment, unsafe work environments, fires, explosions, exposure to dangerous chemicals, and more. While some industries, such as construction and oil and gas, may have higher risks involved in their work, all workplaces can become hazardous. Even a slippery floor can cause a worker to fall and hit their head hard enough to kill them. When a workplace accident causes the death of a family member, their employer may be able to be held liable in court. The wrongful death of a loved one in a workplace accident can often leave their family financially unstable and they will both need and deserve compensation to be able to live their lives as best they can without their dear family member.
- Defective Products
When a manufacturer releases a product that is dangerous to consumers and a consumer dies as a result of a product defect, that is considered a wrongful death and the consumer’s family can seek financial compensation from the manufacturer. Products are meant to be safe when they are produced and released to the general public. Unfortunately, defective products make it past government review and get into the hands of consumers. Some examples of a defective product that causes wrongful death include toxic food, defective cars, unsafe products designed for children, and dangerous pharmaceuticals. Companies are legally required to safety test their products, which means they are liable if a consumer dies as a direct result of using their product. Having a Texas wrongful death lawyer on your side can help prove your family’s side of the case as this will be difficult when fighting large corporations with teams of high priced and experienced attorneys being paid to restrict your financial recovery as much as possible.
- Nursing Home Negligence
Nursing home abuse is rampant across the country, leaving many of our most helpless family members at risk of wrongful death. Nursing homes are meant to be safe havens for our elderly loved ones, however, many nursing home staff members and facilities become negligent in their care. If a loved one passes away as the result of a negligent caregiver, the nursing home and the caregiver can be held liable for their death. Some common forms of abuse in nursing homes include failure to diagnose medical conditions, failure to monitor their health, dehydration, malnourishment, and physical abuse. These types of abuse can sadly lead to the wrongful death of your elderly or disabled loved one.
Award-Winning Houston Lawyers
If a loved one has passed away and their death is considered a wrongful death in the state of Texas, you only have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations that applies to wrongful death claims only allows a lawsuit to be filed within two years of your loved one’s death and it can only be filed by certain legally designated people. Act quickly before time runs out and you are not able to hold those accountable who killed your family member.