Wrongful death cases are those that are caused by someone’s negligence. Hard as it is to lose someone you love, determining who is liable can be complex. In a time of loss and grieving, you don’t want to be burdened with having to deal with intricate legalities. A wrongful death attorney can be of tremendous help at a time like this, dealing with all the parties involved and advising you of what you need to do.
Determining who to go after in a wrongful death case
There are many ways a wrongful death can occur, and who to go after is the job for the wrongful death lawyer you hire. Many times the insurance companies will try and blame the decedent or other parties, to try to reduce their settlements. Other times, there really are several parties who may legally share the blame.
Let’s examine several types of wrongful death cases to demonstrate who might be held liable in each case.
- Motor vehicle accidents: In a case where one driver is at fault in the death of a loved one, the claim is made with the wrongdoer’s insurance company. However, in a case where a taxi driver or a commercial vehicle causes a fatal accident, it is possible to hold the driver’s employer liable. If a defective motor vehicle part was involved in the cause of death, the companies that sold the part and the manufacturer of the part could be held responsible. In addition, for states like New York that have vehicular manslaughter laws, it is possible that criminal charges could be filed against the at-fault driver.
- Medical malpractice: A medical malpractice case involves a situation where a medical professional, such as a doctor, nurse, therapist, or anesthesiologist, for example, fails to fulfill the expected standard of care to the patient. This can include surgical mistakes, erroneous prescriptions, failure to administer the right amount of anesthesia, or nursing errors. In some cases, only the doctor will be liable. In other cases, it could be a clinic, a hospital, a rehabilitation center, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, or some other entity.
- Construction accidents: If a construction company fails to create a safe worksite environment for its workers and it results in a wrongful death, that company and/or the contractor can be found liable. Sometimes it is the fault of an equipment manufacturer who provided their products to the construction company.
- Defective products: A defective product can include cars and car parts, medical devices, consumer products, children’s products and machinery and industrial products. If any one of these products caused a wrongful death, a number of parties could be held liable. That includes the product manufacturer, the party that assembled the product, the wholesaler, and the retailer that sold the product.
Determining the party who is liable takes the skills of a professional. Each case is different, so wherever the fault lies can be different.
Another aspect of wrongful death cases you need to know is that in New York, the statute of limitations (the amount of time you have to file such a claim) is only two years from the date of the accident. That is why it is important to hire an attorney who is experienced in wrongful death cases as soon as possible. You don’t want any evidence lost over time, and you don’t want to have to deal with the insurance companies, or any other of the parties involved. Also, related bills, like funeral costs, add up quickly, so you’ll want to settle the case as soon as is feasible.
Let us at Alexander and Associates help you in obtaining compensation and justice for your loss. Give us a call so we can answer any questions you have and help you determine who may be liable in your particular wrongful death case. As experienced wrongful death attorneys, we will do everything in our power to help you.
If you have any questions about this article or any other questions related to personal injury law, please call us toll free at 1-800-LAW-1333. Our personal injury consultations are always free.
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