While any death in the family is extremely hard for families and friends involved, they can be even more complicated when caused by someone else’s ineptitude or carelessness. Wrongful death is a term defined as when an individual’s death is directly caused by the wrongful actions or negligence of a person or business entity.
Wrongful deaths can be determined through numerous factors and situations. The following outlined are the most often committed wrongful death scenarios. Plus, a sneak peek into famous cases where a wrongful death attorney was needed. Wrongful death settlements, are normally in the millions of dollars, regardless of who you are, so, any celebrity wrongful death cases don’t receive special treatment. But we will highlight some cases surrounding them that went down in the history books.
The overwhelming majority of doctors and nurses are highly skilled, however, they’re still human and mistakes do happen. These mistakes can occur when a medical personnel cuts corners, neglects to follow correct procedures, or simply overlooks something completely.
In medical malpractice, the most common wrongful death causes are either a misdiagnosis of a condition or a failure to diagnose a particular condition. Surgical errors or mishaps when treating conditions are also common causes of wrongful death in medicine.
Famous Medical Malpractice Wrongful Death Cases:
- Hulk Hogan: Sued for malpractice involving unnecessary spine surgery
- John Ritter: Family sued the hospital for wrongful death
- Andy Warhol: Doctors overloaded him with fluids
- Michael Jackson: The doctor helped him overdose on a cocktail of drugs including propofol
Car accidents are actually the most common cause of wrongful death because of the sheer number of drivers, how often people drive, and the risks involved.
The grand majority of car accident fatalities are the result of driver’s negligence, whether it be speeding, reckless driving, driving under the influence, or not paying attention to the road. If any of these negligent conditions apply, the driver can be liable for the deaths of anyone else involved in the accident.
If the accident occurred due to issues with the road, then the city or county could be liable. There are even such situations in which an accident occurred and neither driver was negligent, although these are rare wrongful death cases.
Famous Wrongful Death lawsuits from Car Accidents
- Venus Williams – In 2018, Venus Williams was in a car crash at a Palm Beach Gardens intersection where the passenger in the car that hit her passed away. His wife had been driving the car that hit Williams. Jerome Barson died two weeks later. Barson’s family filed a wrongful death suit against Williams. However, the surveillance footage of the intersection was reviewed, and Williams wasn’t in violation of any laws. The case was dismissed.
- Actor Paul Walker’s Daughter Settles With Porsche – In October 2017, the daughter of late Fast and Furious actor Paul Walker settled her wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche. Walker was driving a Porsche Carrera GT when he collided with a tree in Santa Clarita on the night of November 30, 2013. The car caught fire and both Walker and Roger Rodas, the car’s driver, died at the scene.
Meadow Walker’s wrongful death lawsuit against Porsche alleged that the car’s engine and lack of safety features prevented her father from getting out of the crash alive. The lawsuit said the actor was trapped because of the vehicle’s seat belt design and was alive for a minute and 20 seconds after the collision before the car caught fire. Meadow Walker and Porsche decided to keep the terms of the settlement confidential.
Defective Products aka Product Liability Cases
If a person dies because of using a defective product, the manufacturer of the product is then held liable. Product liability is one of the reasons why manufacturers spend so much time testing products to make sure they’re safe. Some common examples of this type of wrongful death include defective pharmaceutical products, toxic food products, unsafe children’s products, and defective automobiles.
Some of the Biggest Recent Product Liability Cases
Since 2018, there have been product liability cases that have paid out billions of dollars to claimants. These include cases against:
- Bayer and Monsanto’s Roundup weed killer, which contains cancer-causing glyphosate
- Johnson & Johnson’s talc products, which contain traces of toxic asbestos
- Hoffmann-LaRoche’s acne drug Accutane, which failed to warn of possible gastrointestinal side-effects
- Pacific Gas & Electric’s utility equipment, which caused fires that killed dozens of people.
Accidents at Work
Higher-risk occupations such as dangerous manual labor and construction jobs have higher instances of workplace fatalities, but a wrongful death can occur at the office or outside work if the employer has put an employee in a dangerous situation. One example of an accident happening outside of work is a nurse who was forced to work multiple 12-hour shifts and then ended up in a fatal car accident on the way home due to exhaustion.
5 of the worst workplace disasters in History
- The Halifax Explosion – 2,000 dead, 9,000 injured
On the morning of the 6th December 1917, in Halifax, Canada, the world bore witness to the largest man-made pre-atomic explosion in history.
- The Bhopal Gas Leak – Up to 16,000 dead
The Bhopal disaster took place on the night of the 2nd of December 1984 at Union Carbide India Limited. Union Carbide India was a pesticide plant located in Bhopal and this disaster is considered to be the world’s worst industrial disaster.
- The Sinking of the Titanic – 1,503 dead
On the night of the 14th of April, 1912 the RMS Titanic, otherwise known as the unsinkable ship, hit an iceberg and sunk on its maiden voyage in the North Atlantic ocean. In total 1,503 people died in the incident out of the 2,208 passengers and crew.
- Honkeiko Colliery Mining Disaster – 1,549 dead
This disaster took place on April 26, 1942, during the height of WW2, in the Japanese captured Honkeiko Colliery Coal Mine in the eastern Liaoning province in China. On that day there was a gas explosion in one of the shafts beginning what would be known as the worst mining disaster of all time.