A wrongful death is one caused either by someone’s negligence or through intentional harm. Negligence occurs when someone has a Duty of Care to others and fails to meet the appropriate Standard of Care. In general, when people act, they should exercise reasonable care to consider and try to avoid potential harm to others. A Standard of Care is the degree of caution that a person or party must take to be considered to have fulfilled its duty. A wrongful death case stemming from negligence involves showing that the failure of a party to meet the appropriate Standard of Care helped cause a person’s death.
Intentionally harming others in a way that leads to their deaths is considered a crime and may be prosecuted as a criminal case. The surviving members of a victim’s family also may bring a wrongful death claim against the perpetrator; this usually happens after the criminal case has been concluded.
However, wrongful death cases are civil cases. While the evidence presented in a criminal case and a wrongful death case for the same incident may be similar, the standard of proof for a wrongful death case is lower. A person may be found liable in wrongful death cases without being convicted of a crime associated with that death.
Types of Catastrophic Injury and Wrongful Death Cases
Catastrophic-injury and wrongful-death cases that The Becker Law Firm has taken on have involved:
- Electrical injuries from downed power lines
- Traumatic brain injuries
- Brain injuries caused by lack of oxygen to the brain (hypoxia or anoxia)
- Spinal cord injuries that cause permanent paralysis or nerve damage
- Severe burns
- Amputated limbs
- Permanent loss of function
- Loss of sight or hearing
- Other life-altering/catastrophic injuries
While these injuries occurred under different circumstances, they have all shared a common factor: in each case, our client was permanently harmed because someone else failed to meet the appropriate standard of care.