The passing of a loved one is always heartbreaking. It can be particularly hard to come to grips with the situation if the death was the result of another’s reckless or negligent actions. In some of these situations, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim. While no amount of money can erase what happened, taking action can help you feel a sense of justice and help make up for future losses in income and benefits you and your family are likely to suffer, while ensuring you are provided for financially in a way your loved one would have wanted.
Negligence in Wrongful Death Cases
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), accidental, unintentional injuries are among the leading causes of death in the United States. Common ways in which these types of deaths occur include:
- Car, truck, and motorcycle accidents;
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents;
- Slips, falls, and other accidents resulting from premises liability;
- On the job accidents and exposure to hazardous substances;
- Accidental drownings;
- Fires and electrocutions;
- Product liability accidents;
- Deaths involving medical mistakes and errors.
In all of the above cases, the death of your loved one can often be traced back to reckless and dangerous actions on the part of another. Negligence is defined as acting in a way that puts others in jeopardy, or failing to take the appropriate actions to correct a dangerous condition or warn others that it exists. When injuries or deaths occur as a result, victims and their surviving members are entitled to compensation.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims can involve cases in which your loved one was killed as the result of a drunk driver, or one who was speeding, distracted, or otherwise behaving in a reckless manner. They can occur when a company owner fails to take the appropriate safety precautions to protect an employee, or when manufacturers overlook federal safety regulations or fail to include warnings about the proper use of their products. Landowners and managers can be held liable for failing to provide adequate lighting, handrails on stairs, or other issues which endanger those with whom they do business.
In these situations you may be able to hold negligent parties accountable for their actions, either by filing a claim through their insurance company or by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Sections 31.70-725 of the Oregon Revised Code, damages you may be entitled to claim include:
- Economic damages, which cover actual costs such as lost wages, hospital and funeral expenses;
- Non-economic damages, which cover intangibles, such as pain, suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship;
- Punitive damages, which are an additional amount the court imposes for conduct that was particularly willful and negligent.
If you have lost a loved one as the result of an accident or due to someone’s negligent actions, contact the Johnston Law Firm online today. You can schedule a free consultation with our Portland or Vancouver, WA wrongful death attorney, who can carefully review your case and advise you on the best possible options for your recovery.