A wrongful death case is very similar to a personal injury case, in the legal sense, with one exception.  The victim in a wrongful death case is no longer able to file a lawsuit.  A family member may seek damages in a wrongful death case, but may be wondering exactly what is the criteria for defining a “wrongful death” case, as opposed to an accidental death.

Death Due to Negligence

A person is deemed to be “negligent” if they fail to exercise reasonable care, when there is a duty to do so.  If someone dies due to this negligence, or other “reckless” behavior, then a wrongful death suit is appropriate.

Intentional Death

There are cases when recklessness or negligence rises to the intentional killing of one person by another.  In cases such as this, the death meets the criteria to be classified as a wrongful death in the state of Georgia.

Common Causes

A wrongful death suit can originate under a variety of circumstances, but some causes appear more than others.  Let’s look at the top three causes.

  1. In the state of Georgia, an overwhelming amount of wrongful death suits come from motor vehicle accidents. They are the most common cause of wrongful death suits in the state of Georgia. It goes without saying that driving recklessly and dangerously will cause wrongful deaths in some cases.  Drunk driving, and distracted driving (driving while texting) can also contribute to these numbers.  It isn’t only drivers and passengers in the target car.  From time to time, families of the passengers in the negligent driver’s car are also entitled to file on behalf of their loved ones.
  2. At number two, slip and fall accidents on commercial property are also responsible for wrongful death cases. This includes accidents that occur in the workplace and on construction sites. This type of accident can result in broken bones and trips to the emergency room. In more severe cases, head trauma may be sustained, and can lead to death.
  3. Medical malpractice comes in third when it comes to wrongful death cases in Georgia. These mistakes that are made in the process of treating patients can cause injury and death.   They include things like:
  • Leaving sponges or medical instruments inside a patient during surgery;
  • Failing to properly monitor a patient during surgery;
  • Improperly delivering, or being negligent at the birth of a baby;
  • Administering improper amounts of anesthesia;
  • Misdiagnosing or failing to diagnose a medical condition;
  • Dispensing the wrong medication or expired medication

Check for the Big Three Criteria

If someone close to you has died, and you think that their death meets the criteria for a wrongful death lawsuit, remember that these cases are based on negligence, recklessness, or intent.  Your best strategy is to enlist the help of a wrongful death attorney to help you determine the strength of your case, and the best way to proceed.  A great wrongful death attorney will be your strongest ally in a situation that can be overwhelming to most people.