Wrongful death indicates that a person died due to the wrongful conduct of another person or persons. Wrongful death liability may include a variety of situations, including death from a car accident, occupational hazards, police misconduct, a defective product, and more. In the case of wrongful death, the representative of the deceased individual can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In the case of a wrongful death, only the personal representative of the deceased person can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In New York, this representative is appointed by Surrogate’s Court. To pursue litigation, the representative must show several things. The suit must demonstrate that the defendant acted with negligence, for example, the liable party must have acted in a careless fashion. In addition, it must be shown that the death resulted from this negligence.
When recovering damages in a wrongful death case, the plaintiff can only recover for economic loss and conscious pain and suffering of the deceased person. Wrongful death lawsuits do not provide recovery for grief on behalf of the survivors.
In a lawsuit alleging wrongful death, the representative must demonstrate that the deceased left behind surviving beneficiaries or dependents. This includes a spouse or children. The plaintiff must also show that the death caused the survivors to experience economic loss.
Examples of Recoverable Economic Damages
In a wrongful death lawsuit, medical expenses for the deceased may be included in the recovery. A wrongful death claim for example, is filed on behalf of a man who died as a result of injuries related to a car crash caused by someone else’s negligence. Economic damages may include the cost of the medical bills incurred to treat him from the time of the accident until his death.
Other examples may include the cost of nursing care, assisted living, and the cost of a funeral. Children of the deceased can also seek recovery for loss of parental nurturing, guidance, and education.
National law firm Parker Waichman LLP has extensive experience and success in representing clients in wrongful death litigation. Our attorneys are actively reviewing cases on behalf of individuals who are seeking information for those interested in filing a potential lawsuit.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Product Liability
In product liability litigation, manufacturers are held liable for a defective product. In some cases, the defective product may have led to serious, even fatal injuries. Product liability lawsuits are frequently filed over allegedly defective drugs and medical devices.
An example of product liability lawsuits is Bayer and Janssen, facing litigations over the blood thinning drug Xarelto. Plaintiffs in the lawsuits claim that the drug caused uncontrollable bleeding and that the manufacturers neglected to warn of the risks. Some of these lawsuits qualify as wrongful death cases because the bleeding was fatal. Court records indicate that one such lawsuit was filed on behalf of a Xarleto user who died in March 2015. The decedent took the anticoagulant for approximately one year and suffered from bleeding in the lungs, ischemic stroke, multiple cardiopulmonary arrests, respiratory failure, and septic shock, according to the complaint.
The Xarelto wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the decedent died due to the drug maker’s wrongful actions. The complaint focuses on the defendants’ failure to warn about the lack of an antidote to stop any bleeding in case it begins. Other blood thinners, for example warfarin (brand name Coumadin) have a reversal agent that can be used if patients experience excessive bleeding. The lawsuit alleges the drug makers knew about this risk, but neglected to sufficiently warn patients or the medical community.
Wrongful death claims frequently involve medical products, but other products may be subject to product liability lawsuits as well. An example is Ikea, and the litigation it is facing over its dressers which came under fire after a number of children died because of a toppled dresser. A total of 29 million Ikea dressers were recalled following reports of these fatalities.
Parents of one of the deceased toddlers filed a wrongful death lawsuit in January 2016 in the Philadelphia Common Pleas Court. According to the complaint, the toddler’s death was caused by the defective nature of the dresser. The suit alleges that Ikea sold the dressers despite being aware that they were unstable, easily tipping over onto children with tragic results.
Advice on Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you or someone you know is interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal injury attorneys at Parker Waichman offer free, no-obligation case evaluations. We urge you to contact us at 1-800-YOURLAWYER (1-800-968-7529).