You have found a wrongful death attorney and want to do a consultation. However, you might feel worried about whether you have a case based on the type of incident involved. If you're unsure about whether your possible claim matches the events of your case, look at these four common sorts of wrongful death claims.
The most common type of wrongful death case involves negligence. A defendant didn't mean to hurt anyone, but the events unfolded in a way where the death happened. Worse, the sequence of events indicates the defendant didn't take the necessary steps to prevent the outcome.
Suppose a driver was speeding to get to work. They blew through a red light because they weren't paying attention. This is negligence because the defendant had a duty to safely operate their vehicle but failed to do everything they should have.
You will find malice at the opposite end of the spectrum. In these cases, the defendants meant for harm to come to the victim. Oftentimes, people pursue these cases after a court files criminal charges. However, a malice claim doesn't have to be tied to a criminal case. A wrongful death attorney can pursue the case as a civil matter regardless of whether there were charges or any convictions.
Suppose a defendant attacked a victim in a bar. Even if the defendant didn't mean to kill the person, the attack was inherently malicious. Therefore, the victim's loved ones can pursue a claim based on what happened.
Some decisions aren't malicious, but they're also not necessarily accidents, either. Wanton disregard covers incidents where defendants knew something bad could happen but kept going anyhow.
Imagine a high school football player was practicing on an extremely hot day. They tell their coach they need a break, but the coach tells them to keep practicing or they won't start the next game. If the coach ignored signs the athlete was dehydrated before they passed out, for example, that could be a form of wanton disregard.
A small set of cases don't require any consideration of malice, negligence, or wanton disregard. Some defendants are strictly liable. That means if anyone was harmed by their actions, they're automatically at fault.
Generally, strict liability applies to presumed dangerous activities. A demolition company using explosives, for example, is strictly liable for all injuries and deaths its operation might cause. Similarly, many states hold owners strictly liable if an exotic animal attack someone.
For more information, contact a wrongful death attorney near you.