Wrongful Death: Injured
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Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death claims are usually brought by the estate of a person who was killed due to fault of another. The most common plaintiffs are the surviving spouse or the children of the deceased. The wrongful death laws differ from state to state. Generally, the elements are the same and include a death of a human being which was caused either by negligence or the intent to harm. The surviving family members usually need to be suffering a monetary injury as a result of the death. A wrongful death lawsuit often ties in with other personal injury lawsuits including vehicle accidents or medical malpractice.


Recently in Wrongful Death Category

Just about every criminal and civil case has a time limit — a statute of limitations that creates a deadline for filing a case. But there’s no statute of limitations for murder cases, so would the same be true for wrongful death claims?

While wrongful death claims are still subject to statutes of limitation, it turns out there are some unique considerations when it comes to applying time limits to wrongful death lawsuits.

An instructor and an 11-year-old boy were killed in a hang gliding crash near Jean, Nevada last March. A subsequent investigation revealed that the instructor did not have the proper permits to be flying in that location, and his business wasn’t licensed in the counties in which it was operating.

So who regulates hang gliding companies, and who is liable in a hang glider accident?

[UPDATE: After this post was published, Eric Garner's family accepted a $5.9 million settlement from New York City.]

The widow of Eric Garner, the Staten Island man choked to death by NYPD officers last year, has rejected an offer of $5 million to settle a potential wrongful death lawsuit. Despite urging from the family's attorney to accept the money, Esaw Garner declined the offer and the family has indicated it intends to sue the city instead, for $75 million.

Although a coroner declared Garner's death a homicide, a grand jury decided not to bring criminal charges against Daniel Pantaleo, the officer who applied the fatal chokehold.

Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?

When a loved one is killed by the intentional or negligent actions of another, a criminal conviction may bring justice. However, sending the defendant to jail won't cover the loss of a family member's care and support.

To receive civil compensation, victims' surviving family members can file wrongful death lawsuits. Normally, the person who is injured would sue for damages. However, in a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim obviously isn't in a position to bring a lawsuit.

So, who can sue for wrongful death?

A fourth-story balcony of a Berkeley, Calif. apartment complex collapsed late last night, killing six young people and critically injuring seven others. The victims, many of whom were from Ireland and working and studying in the country, were celebrating a birthday when the apartment deck collapsed.

Local police, fire officials, and building inspectors are investigating the accident, and a criminal investigation is unlikely at this time.

Prosecutors charged Bumble Bee Foods and two managers after a worker was cooked to death in an industrial oven along with six tons of tuna. Plant Operations Director Angel Rodriguez and former safety manager Saul Florez could face 3 years in prison and the Bumble Bee could pay $1.5 million in fines for violating workplace safety standards.

But what about the family of the man who died, Jose Melena? Does workers' compensation cover death in the workplace? Or will survivors need to file a wrongful death claim?

If a patient dies because of misconduct by doctors or medical personnel, surviving family members may be able to recover damages by bringing a wrongful death lawsuit. And if medical malpractice causes a mother to die during her pregnancy or childbirth, her survivors, including the baby could file a wrongful death of the mother claim.

While these claims may look like standard wrongful death or medical malpractice lawsuits, there are some considerations to keep in mind in the situation that occurs when a mother has died before or during childbirth.

There are two major legal protections of our medical privacy: the physician-patient privilege and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Both preclude doctors from disclosing your medical records to third parties without your consent.

But what happens to your medical records after you die? What if you need access to a deceased loved one or family member's medical records? Here's how death affects medical privacy under HIPAA and the physician-patient privilege.

This week, Alameda County paid $8.3 million to the family of a man who died while in the county's Santa Rita Jail. The settlement was the largest of its kind, and included Corizon Health, the largest supplier of private health care services to prisons in the country.

In the past, we've noted how difficult it can be for inmates to bring injury lawsuits, and wondered whether an inmate can sue for injuries at all. It's still too early to tell if this recent settlement will make future suits easier, but here are three possible lessons the Alameda case can teach us about inmate injury claims.

The family of John Crawford III is suing Walmart and the Beavercreek, Ohio, police department for wrongful death after the 22-year-old father was shot and killed in August.

Crawford was shot by a Beavercreek police officer responding to a 911 call about a man with a gun at Walmart; Crawford was holding a BB gun that he'd found unattended in the store. A grand jury in September declined to indict the officer or his partner for the fatal shooting. The Washington Post reports that Crawford's family is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.

Why is Walmart being sued over Crawford's death?