In its simplest definition, a wrongful death is one that occurs due to the fault of another person or entity, such as a manufacturer that releases a faulty product. The nature of the death has to be proven to have been the result of negligible or intentional actions. Any person, company, or even governing agency can be sued for a wrongful death. The surviving family members must be either immediate or close, such as children and spouses, or in some areas and cases, parents, grandparents, and siblings. The law regarding wrongful deaths can vary by territory, and each case present a unique circumstance. For instance, the parents of a deceased fetus can sue the doctors for wrongful death if the unborn died due to negligence on their part during care.
Other examples of who can be sued in a wrongful death case.
A lot of wrongful death cases revolve around vehicular accidents, or industrial accidents. If there is a death as the result of an accident, where the other person is at fault, the surviving family can sue the responsible party. In terms of wrongful death in regards to vehicular accidents, even those who built and designed faulty roadways can be sued. The government can also be sued if they fail to maintain and provide sufficient warning regarding roadway hazards. Dangerous curves, landslide, falling rocks, freezing, and flood warnings are all examples of warnings that are required by law to be present. Should a section of hazardous road not be marked, deaths that result on that stretch can be considered a wrongful death, where the governing body for that area could be sued. Although, there are many instances where government agencies can be sued for wrongful death, there are also some cases where agencies and their employees are immune to being sued for their actions.
Drunken drivers who cause fatal accidents are subject to often harsher penalties, whereas the person who gave or sold them the alcohol can sometimes be subject to wrongful death cases as well. An example would be if a bartender did not cut off a person who was obviously over inebriated or who knew they were leaving with the intent to drive. At times even the owner of the establishment that provided the alcohol for a drunk driver can be sued for wrongful death.