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4 Common Types of Wrongful Death with Famous Examples

05-04-21    

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.

Medical Malpractice

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

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.

 


Rinehardt Law Firm Achieves Highest Medical Malpractice Verdict In The State Of Ohio For 2017

09-14-18    

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John Rinehardt and Melanie Fahey of Rinehardt Injury Attorneys achieved Franklin County Ohio’s largest jury verdict of 2017.

The verdict was the largest medical malpractice verdict statewide and the fifth largest jury verdict of any kind statewide for the year.

As reported in Columbus Business First online magazine, the medical malpractice jury verdict of $5.2 million in favor of the Estate of David Robinson from American Health Network was among the largest in all of Central Ohio along with a car crash verdict and a chemical contamination verdict.

The case involved a Physician Assistant who failed to perform the proper diagnostic tests when a 35-year-old man presented with complaints of blood in his stool. The failure resulted in an 8-month delay in diagnosis of rectal cancer. Once discovered, the disease had metastasized and the husband and father of three young children died less than a year later.

The Physician Assistant denied liability and denied that any failure on his part to diagnose the cancer was a cause of the man’s death.

“When we show up (at the doctor’s office), we expect that the steps that are necessary are going to be followed. When that doesn’t happen… it’s going to have dire consequences,” Rinehardt said. “The evidence showed the steps to determine the likely source of complaints and symptoms were not followed. He lost his chance to beat a cancer that if caught early is very survivable.”

After a seven-day jury trial in Franklin County, a unanimous eight-person jury found that the Physician Assistant’s treatment fell below the standard of care and that his negligence was a cause of the man’s ultimate death. The jury included $5.2 million to make up for the harms and losses caused. The verdict included medical expenses, lost income, mental anguish and loss of society for his wife and family.

Rinehardt described the jury as “thoughtful and deliberate.” All eight jurors had a college education and four had graduate degrees.

“He had a long life ahead of him had he been diagnosed,” Rinehardt said. “He was instrumental in the family business, had a lot to offer his family and community. The jury was very attuned to the evidence.”

Rinehardt Injury Attorneys represents individuals and families throughout the state of Ohio. The experienced team of lawyers and their staff are dedicated to looking out for the best interests of their clients. With offices in Mansfield and Columbus, the firm offers small town values with big city results.

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