A wrongful death case is a legal action filed by the surviving family members of a deceased person against the responsible party, or parties when the deceased person’s death was caused by another’s negligence or reckless behavior. 

The legal action is brought by surviving family members with the assistance of a wrongful death attorney to seek monetary compensation for the loss of life.

How do you know when to file a wrongful death claim? Here are some cases in which  you may need to hire an attorney and file a case:

  • Car Accident

Wrongful death claims can arise from many different situations, but one of the most common is a car accident. 

When someone dies in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, the survivors of the deceased person may file a claim for damages to compensate them for their loss. This includes damages for the pain and suffering experienced by the family, financial losses due to the death, and sometimes punitive damages as well. 

In order for a wrongful death claim to be successful, the surviving family members must be able to prove that the other party acted negligently or recklessly in causing the death. 

  • Medical Malpractice

When a medical professional fails to provide the level of care that they are responsible to provide, and a patient dies as a result, the family of the deceased can hold them accountable by filing a wrongful death claim.

The process of filing a wrongful death claim is complex and requires the expertise of a qualified wrongful death attorney. The lawyer will assess the details of the case and decide if a claim is viable. They will then help the family in filing the claim and gathering evidence as needed to support the family’s claim.

  • Defective Product

Defective product wrongful death claims can be based on either negligence or strict liability. Negligence is based on a defendant’s failure to exercise due care in making, designing, selling, or warning potential users of the risks of a product. 

Strict liability is an alternate basis for liability, and it holds a manufacturer or retailer liable for any harm or injury caused by their product regardless of the defendant’s level of care or intentionality.

A wrongful death claim for a defective product must prove three elements. First, the product must have a defect that caused the death, and the defect must have been present at the time of purchase. Second, the defect must have been the direct cause of death. Third, the plaintiff must prove that their damages (which can include loss of income, medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of companionship, and pain and suffering) are a direct result of the product’s defectiveness.

  • Pedestrian Accident

Wrongful death claims in pedestrian accidents are based on the legal principle of negligence. This means that in order to have a successful wrongful death claim, there must be evidence that the responsible party acted carelessly or recklessly and that this carelessness or recklessness resulted in the death of the victim. 

For a wrongful death claim to be successful in a pedestrian accident, the driver who allegedly caused the accident must have acted with negligence, and the victim must have been using the road or crossing it in a reasonable manner.

  • Workplace Death

If someone dies in the course of their employment due to the negligence or intentional acts of their employer, the surviving family members can pursue a wrongful death claim against the employer. This is a civil lawsuit filed with the intention of receiving compensation from the responsible party.


The importance of hiring a wrongful death attorney cannot be understated. From filing a wrongful death claim to gathering evidence and providing litigation support, a wrongful death attorney can provide invaluable assistance to survivors in their pursuit of justice.

Need Help?

If you or someone you know, needs help from a lawyer, contact the law offices of Swartz & Swartz, use our live chat, or send us a message using the form below and we’ll get in touch to assess your case and how we can help.

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About the Author: James Swartz
Mr. Swartz, our Managing and Principal Attorney at Swartz & Swartz P.C., is a nationally recognized and respected trial attorney as well as consumer advocate. His practice focuses on cases involving negligence, torts, products liability, medical malpractice, wrongful death, and other claims involving catastrophic injuries.

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