No, not all accidental deaths are wrongful deaths. Wrongful death is a legal term that means the death was caused by someone else’s negligent or intentional actions. Survivors have the right to bring legal action to recover damages after a wrongful death.

Accidental deaths are different. Sometimes, people die because of their own negligence or for other reasons that do not include the negligence of others. Accidental deaths do not result in successful legal cases.

What Makes a Fatal Accident a Wrongful Death?

Generally, you need to prove that:

  • The person responsible for your loved one’s death owed your loved one a duty of care. For example, drivers owe other people on the road a duty of care, property owners owe guests and invitees a duty of care, and dog owners owe the people who come into contact with their dog a duty of care.
  • The person responsible for your loved one’s death breached the duty of care. People who have a duty of care need to act like a reasonable person would in similar circumstances. For example, a reasonable person would not drink and drive, a reasonable person would not fail to fix a broken stair, and a reasonable person would not allow an aggressive dog to run around without a leash.
  • The breach in the duty of care caused your loved one’s death. In other words, your loved one’s death would not have happened but for the other person’s breach of the duty of care.
  • You have a legal right to pursue damages according to Wisconsin, Illinois, or Iowa law. State law allows you to file a wrongful death lawsuit and recover damages.

Wrongful death damages may include but are not limited to medical costs incurred before death, funeral expenses, lost income, out-of-pocket costs, physical pain suffered before death, and emotional loss.

How to Know If Your Loved One Suffered a Wrongful Death

You are grieving regardless of whether your loved one suffered an accidental death or wrongful death. Right now, you may be confused. It can be complicated to determine whether someone else was responsible for a fatal accident. Thus, it is essential to contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer for a free consultation about your case and potential legal rights as soon as possible.

Our wrongful death attorneys will review the circumstances of your loved one’s death and give you an accurate assessment of your legal rights and potential recoveries. Then, you can decide whether you want to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you are ready to take the first step to protect your potential legal recovery by understanding your legal rights, then we encourage you to contact our experienced Midwest wrongful death lawyers today for a free, no-obligation consultation. We would be happy to meet with you in any of our Wisconsin, Illinois, or Iowa offices, by phone or video conference, or in your home.

 

Jason F. Abraham
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Managing Partner, Hupy and Abraham