At some point, everyone experiences tragedy in their lives. In many cases, this is a direct result of losing a loved one. While this is always a disheartening event, the situation is often made even worse when the death is related to negligence. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, you may be wondering how to move forward. In fact, you may even ask the question “What is a negligent death,” and speculate whether you might have a wrongful death case. The following guide will help.
What Is Negligent Death?
Defining negligent death is fairly easy on the surface. A negligent death is any fatality stemming from a person or other party’s acts of negligence. However, it’s important to distinguish this from other wrongful acts that can lead to wrongful death lawsuits in Delaware. That’s because such cases can also arise from intentional, malicious, and even criminal acts. Conversely, negligent deaths often have no ill intent and are the result of careless acts.
The following are just a few examples of negligent acts that can lead to death:
- Distracted driving
- Failure to repair a property hazard
- Allowing a dog to get off their leash
- Medical errors such as misdiagnosis and improper medications
- Nursing home neglect
- Manufacturer defects (e.g., autonomous vehicle litigation is increasing)
- Improper safety procedures at construction sites
The saddest part of this list is that it’s nowhere near exhaustive. An act of negligence in any part of our daily lives can lead to a negligent death. In many instances, a person could be going about their routine without a care in the world when such an occurrence takes place. In some cases, however, liability may not always be clear.
Who Is at Fault for a Negligent Death?
There are various issues to consider with assigning fault in a negligent death. In fact, this process could even differ between jurisdictions. In a straightforward case, a party that acted negligently will be clearly liable and thus fully responsible for any deaths related to their actions. This is very common in Delaware car accident cases and medical malpractice claims.
Of course, the chance always exists that multiple parties could share liability. For instance, what if an overserved drunk driver fails to see a stop sign because it’s obscured by unkempt roadside bushes? In such a case, the driver may be liable along with the establishment that overserved them and the local government that didn’t maintain their shrubbery. This makes liability a complex issue that a wrongful death attorney can help you understand.
Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If your loved one experienced a negligent death due to the careless or reckless acts of another party, you may very well be entitled to financial compensation. Recovery could include losses related to pain and suffering, lost future wages, medical expenses, burial costs, emotional distress, and more. Many people wonder if they have a valid wrongful death claim when their loved one was somewhat at fault for their own accident. In many cases, the answer is “yes.”
That’s because many states practice comparative negligence rules. This means percentages of liability are assigned in wrongful death cases, and the recovery allowed is merely reduced by the percentage of fault the victim shares. This means a $1 million award would be reduced by $100,000 if a jury decides a victim was 10% at fault for their own accident. This is obviously a complex legal concept, so contact our law firm today for a free consultation to better understand your rights.