Wrongful death claims are made when a person is killed in an accident that occurs because of the negligent (or willful) actions of the person or entity which caused the mishap. In any accident caused by someone else’s carelessness, victims can be so severely injured that they end up losing their lives. Most examples of wrongful death – due to their accidental nature – are outside the purview of criminal punishment, thereby leaving civil claims and courts as the only avenues to punishing the negligent defendant and providing compensation to survivors.
Examples of Wrongful Death
The most common Kentucky wrongful death examples include the following:
- Vehicle Accidents: These often result from negligent drivers who speed, drive under the influence, or drive while drowsy or distracted. But wrongful death may also be caused by bad roads, thereby making road construction companies and/or the municipalities responsible for maintaining them as possible liable defendants.
- On-the-Job Accidents: Employers have a legal duty to keep their workplaces safe. Wrongful death claims can arise from accidents on any kind of job, from heavy industry to white collar offices. Often, workers’ compensation death benefits are awarded to surviving family members. But additional monies may be available to surviving family members if the negligence of a third party helped to cause the fatal accident.
- Defective Products: Wrongful death claims arise against manufacturers who make unsafe vehicles; all types of consumer products such as dangerous drugs, food products, clothing or toys; and machinery or tools used by workers in any industry, such as construction or manufacturing. Sometimes defective product wrongful death is difficult to determine and may be initially attributed to a different cause, only later to be attributed to a defective device. Virtually any accident category on this wrongful death list could be the result of some sort of defective product.
- Commercial Transportation Accidents: Though technically viewed as vehicle accidents, “big rigs” are much larger and heavier than the family car, SUV or pickup. Per capita, more wrongful death accidents involve large over-the-road trucks than private vehicles, according to the National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration (NHTSA). Many are caused by truck driver carelessness or recklessness. Some are caused by the negligence of a transport company which improperly loaded the truck’s cargo. Yet others are the result of companies’ pressure on drivers to operate their vehicles in an unsafe manner, such as encouraging them to speed or drive more hours per day than allowed in order to make deadlines.
Other Examples of Wrongful Death Cases
- Pedestrian Accidents: Across the U.S. and in Kentucky, wrongful death pedestrian accidents are on the rise. Those on foot are especially vulnerable to suffering fatal injuries by careless drivers of personal vehicles, buses, and commercial trucks. But municipalities and even private property owners may bear some of the liability for a wrongful death if they do not maintain their property next to a roadway. This can force a pedestrian to step into the street, only to be fatally struck.
- Bicycle/Motorcycle Accidents: Like pedestrians, riders have little, if any, protection in collisions with any motor vehicle. Add to that the fact that not all drivers enthusiastically share the road with two-wheeled bikers and riders are even more at risk of suffering wrongful death injuries.
Just about any of these examples of wrongful death cases will trigger very expensive financial compensation claims against the negligent defendant. This means the defendant’s insurers will aggressively defend them and make it quite difficult to collect fair damage compensation. Your best chance for being fairly compensated is to find a seasoned injury attorney to manage your claim and, if necessary, litigate your case in court. The Billy Johnson Law Firm in Pikeville is available to you 24-7 to schedule a free consultation. Reach out to us at either the telephone number listed on this web page or through our “contact us” feature.