Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death

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What Are the Common Causes of Wrongful Death

When someone dies due to someone else’s negligence, recklessness, or malice, their family and dependents have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the liable party. Many incidents can lead to wrongful death, but some are more common than others.

This article will cover the most common causes of wrongful death, wrongful death lawsuits, and who can file one in Georgia. For personalized legal advice and guidance, contact our experienced wrongful death lawyer at Dressie Law Firm. We have been representing those unlawfully injured and their families to recover maximum compensation for 20 years.

    Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death

    Medical Malpractice

    Medical malpractice stands as a prominent cause of wrongful death, marked by the negligence or substandard care provided by healthcare professionals, leading to fatal consequences. Examples of medical malpractice are a surgeon leaving a surgical instrument inside a patient’s body during a procedure or prescribing the wrong medication or dosage.

    Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVAs)

    Motor vehicle accidents constitute a primary cause of wrongful death, claiming the lives of around 47,000 Americans in 2021, according to the National Safety Council.

    Wrongful death cases based on MVAs often involve a negligent driver who was speeding, drunk, or fatigued and caused a crash. Statistics highlight the alarming frequency of fatal car accidents and motorcycle accidents, emphasizing the need for preventative measures and increased awareness to curb the devastating impact of negligent driving and road-related fatalities.

    Workplace Accidents

    Workplace accidents across various industries contribute substantially to wrongful deaths. An example of a wrongful death in the workplace could be a construction worker falling from a height due to inadequate safety measures, resulting in fatal injuries.

    In 2021, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 5,190 injury deaths in the workplace. Among the most common workplace accidents that lead to death are falls, workplace machinery,

    Product Defects

    Product defects in consumer goods or industrial equipment are a common cause of wrongful deaths in the U.S. For example, a wrongful death due to product defects could occur if a faulty automobile airbag fails to deploy during a crash, leading to fatal injuries. The family of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim against the manufacturer for producing a defective and unsafe product.


    More than twenty thousand people are murdered annually in the U.S., according to Violence Prevention, making it one of the leading causes of wrongful death. Georgia law allows the dependents of homicide victims to seek compensation through wrongful death lawsuits.

    Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

    What Constitutes Wrongful Death?

    Wrongful death is a civil action initiated by family members and dependents of a deceased person against the responsible individuals for their death.

    When a loved one’s death is caused by a criminal act, such as homicide, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed alongside the criminal charges against the perpetrator. However, a wrongful death action remains separate from any criminal proceedings, even if the accused is not found guilty in a criminal trial.

    While damages typically compensate for lost financial support and the emotional toll of the death, they also consider factors such as the deceased person’s income, expected future earnings, and the level of dependence family members had on the deceased. Family members may also be entitled to recover funeral expenses in a wrongful death claim.

    Punitive damages may also be granted in cases where the death results from intent or recklessness.

    Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

    According to OCGA §51-4-4 and §19-7-1, the surviving spouse, children, and parents are entitled to compensation for the full value of the deceased’s life.

    • Spouse: The surviving spouse of the deceased has the primary right to bring a wrongful death claim in Georgia.
    • Children: If no surviving spouse exists, the deceased’s surviving children may have the right to file a claim.
    • Parents: If the deceased has no surviving spouse or children, the parents of the deceased may be eligible to bring a wrongful death action.

    It’s important to note that Georgia law does not extend the right to file a wrongful death claim to siblings or other relatives. However, when the deceased leaves no spouse, child, or parent behind, their executor or administrator can bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

    Our Atlanta wrongful death attorney at Dressie Law Firm can give the legal advice and support you need to navigate this challenging time and secure the most favorable outcomes.

    Check out our wrongful death FAQs for more answers.

    The Importance of Legal Representation

    Amidst the difficulty of wrongful death claims, legal representation is not just advisable but crucial. A skillful, compassionate, and knowledgeable wrongful death attorney plays a pivotal role in advocating for fair compensation:

    Here’s how our attorneys can help you:

    1. Legal Guidance: Wrongful death cases involve complex legal procedures. An experienced attorney who understands the applicable laws, regulations, and statutes will be indispensable.
    2. Investigation and Evidence Gathering: Attorneys can conduct thorough investigations to gather evidence supporting the wrongful death claim. This may include reviewing accident reports, interviewing witnesses, and consulting with experts to establish liability.
    3. Determining Damages: Calculating the full extent of damages in a wrongful death case requires an understanding of economic and non-economic losses. Attorneys help families identify and quantify damages, including medical expenses and emotional suffering.
    4. Negotiation and Advocacy: Attorneys negotiate with opposing parties, such as insurance companies or the legal representatives of the responsible party. Their advocacy helps secure a fair settlement that adequately compensates the family for their loss.
    5. Court Representation: If a fair settlement cannot be reached, the case may go to court. In this case, your family will need experienced legal counsel to represent them in court.

    Dressie Law Firm is committed to offering compassionate legal guidance, ensuring families are well-informed as they navigate the challenging aftermath of a wrongful death.

    Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    From the shadows of medical malpractice to the unpredictable terrain of motor vehicle accidents, workplace incidents, and the pitfalls of product defects, wrongful deaths are heartbreaking and challenging. For those grappling with the belief that they have a wrongful death claim, the path forward is both daunting and crucial. Dressie Law Firm is here for you.

    Our legal team of 24 professionals has helped thousands of victims and their families recover the compensation they deserve. We are committed to bringing justice to all personal injury victims, no matter the cause.

    Contact us today for a free consultation.

    The Dressie Law Firm Can Help You

    If you or a loved one is a victim of a reckless or negligent driver, we want you to know that the law is on your side and so is the Dressie Law Firm.

    Contact us today to schedule your free consultation!