Common Wrongful Death Causes

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

The CDC reports that 224,935 deaths were caused by unintentional injuries in 2021. This includes falls, car accidents, and poisonings, among others. Although many of these were tragic accidents, some may be considered wrongful deaths.

In Arkansas, a wrongful death is defined as any death “caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another party. Wrongful deaths can be caused by negligence, recklessness, or even intentional actions, such as homicide. 

In such situations, the surviving family members of the deceased have a legal right to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. These damages can help them to rebuild their lives and compensate them for the lost earnings and support their loved one would have provided.

In this article, we will explore the most common wrongful death causes and how an experienced wrongful death lawyer can assist you as you seek justice on behalf of your loved one.

Auto Accidents

Every year, auto accidents top the list of the most common causes of wrongful death. In 2021, 693 people lost their lives on Arkansas roads, and this number keeps rising each year. 

These accidents included:

  • Car crashes
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Pedestrian accidents

Car accidents

In 2021, over 38 billion miles were traveled on Arkansas roads. With cars the most popular form of transportation, it is not surprising that car accidents are a leading cause of wrongful deaths. 

Everyone who takes to the road has a duty of care toward other drivers and road users. Accidents can occur due to driver error, negligence, or not taking reasonable care. 

When a person dies on the road, it is not automatically a wrongful death. However, a wrongful death attorney may be able to demonstrate that negligence, recklessness, or deliberate actions caused a person to lose control of his or her vehicle. In such a case, you may have a valid claim to compensation.

Truck accidents

Trucks are the heaviest vehicles on Arkansas roads. More than 94 percent of the time, they stick to the State Highway System, and the vast majority of journeys go off without a hitch. However, when truck accidents happen, they can result in very serious injuries. 

Some injuries, such as spinal cord injuries and traumatic brain injuries, may not cause death instantaneously. Yet, even if your loved one lived for some time but then went on to die due to his or her truck accident injuries, you may still be able to file a wrongful death claim.

Motorcycle accidents

The stunning scenery of Arkansas makes it a great place to ride a motorcycle. Yet, tragically, it is now one of the worst states in terms of motorcycle deaths. A total of 85 riders died on Arkansas roads in 2021, which is a 51 percent increase from 2019. 

Some commentators highlight speeding and alcohol consumption among motorists as a possible cause for these high figures. Motorcycle riders have much less protection than people traveling in other vehicles, making them much more likely to suffer fatal injuries in a motorcycle accident.

If reckless behavior or a negligent driver caused your family member’s death on a motorcycle, the at-fault driver must be held accountable. Compensation could help you and your family to rebuild your lives and face the future with greater confidence. 

Pedestrian accidents

Pedestrians are the most vulnerable of all road users. They have no protection, and the slightest impact can cause serious injuries and even death. 

Pedestrian accidents are most commonly caused by negligence on the part of one or more drivers. However, in some cases, the city or county may bear some responsibility if they neglected to provide pedestrian walkways or other safety measures.

Workplace Accidents

In 2020, there were 5,190 people who lost their lives at work while out there trying to make a living to support themselves and their families. This represents the highest annual rate since 2016. 

If your family member lost his or her life due to injuries sustained in the workplace, you may be entitled to death benefits under Workers’ Compensation Insurance. A wrongful death attorney can advise you whether you also have the right to file a wrongful death claim in addition to these benefits.

Some of the most common workplace accidents are:

  • Slips, trips, and falls: These are the most common types of accidents overall, although most are non-fatal. However, falls from height, such as from ladders or scaffolding, pose the highest risk of serious injuries and fatalities.
  • Transportation accidents: Truck accidents, car crashes, and other transportation accidents are a leading cause of workplace deaths.
  • Harmful substances and environments: This includes exposure to such substances along with accidental poisoning from medications and alcohol.
  • Workplace negligence: The careless, negligent, or reckless actions of coworkers and managers can cause fatal accidents.

The laws around wrongful deaths that occur in the workplace are more complex than in other circumstances. Therefore, it is crucial to get accurate legal advice from wrongful death attorneys with a great track record in fighting and winning such cases. 

Medical malpractice

While the vast majority of interventions from medical professionals do not result in lasting harm, medical errors can lead to catastrophic results. In medical malpractice, most wrongful death claims arise from diagnostic errors. This includes delayed diagnosis, inaccurate diagnosis, and failure to diagnose a medical condition. All of these scenarios can lead to delayed treatment, which in turn can lead to death.

Other types of medical malpractice include:

  • Surgical errors
  • Anesthesia mistakes
  • Prescription or medication errors
  • Pregnancy or birth injuries
  • Poor post-operative care
  • Failure to provide alternative treatment options

Medical malpractice wrongful death actions are notoriously complex. In Arkansas, they are subject to different laws than other wrongful death cases. For example, in medical malpractice wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations is usually only 2 years. 

The burden of proof is weighty. It must clearly be shown that a mistake or reckless act caused your injury. To do so, expert medical witnesses may be called on to prove medical malpractice occurred.

Nevertheless, don’t let the complexity of medical malpractice cases stop you from seeking justice. An experienced wrongful death attorney will listen carefully to your case and advise you whether you have a strong chance of success.

Defective Products

Manufacturers invest a lot of time and money in testing products before bringing them to market, yet we still regularly hear about product recalls. Sadly, at times, this is due to wrongful deaths that have happened due to defective products. 

If your family member died because of a defective product, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on the grounds of product liability.

Other Types of Wrongful Death Cases

Although the scenarios above are the most common types of wrongful death cases, other accidents can lead to claims. The following is just a snapshot of the situations that could lead to a wrongful death claim.

Aviation accidents

Thankfully, aviation accidents are rare, and it remains one of the safest forms of transportation. However, the National Safety Council (NSC) reports that 376 people died in aviation accidents in 2021. None of these took place on board commercial airlines.

In these cases, the pilot or aviation company may bear a level of responsibility for the accident. If a wrongful death lawyer takes on your case, he or she will leave no stone unturned in establishing liability and pursuing the compensation you deserve.

Boating accidents

Arkansas may be landlocked, but opportunities for boating abound. The state is home to over 600,000 acres of lakes, making recreational boating an ever-popular pastime for Arkansans.

Tragically, 15 people lost their lives in boating accidents in Arkansas in 2022. Although each case is unique, the owners and operators of the boat may be liable. 

Other parties may also bear responsibility if they were acting negligently or recklessly. In some boating wrongful death cases, defective boats or parts may mean that product liability is the right avenue to pursue.

Swimming pool accidents

Drowning is one of the most common causes of death for children. According to the CDC, it is the single biggest cause of death for children aged 1-4 and the second biggest cause for children aged 5-14. On average, 11 people, including children, die each day due to drowning.

Swimming pools are the most common place for drownings to happen. Several factors can contribute to this, including a lack of barriers around the pool and defective equipment. Swimming pools also pose a risk for slip-and-fall accidents, which can lead to fatal spinal cord injuries and head traumas. 

Swimming pool wrongful deaths may fall under premises liability, product liability, or other areas of law. If you have tragically lost a family member due to a swimming pool accident, let a wrongful death lawyer explain your legal options so that those responsible can be held accountable and you can pursue the compensation you deserve.

How a Wrongful Death Lawyer Can Fight for Your Rights

A wrongful death attorney can explain the legal avenues open to you after the tragic death of your loved one. Whatever the circumstances, he or she will listen carefully to your case and discuss how Arkansas law applies to your case.

Even if you are unsure whether you have a case or not, talk to an experienced wrongful death lawyer. 

In most cases, the statute of limitations in Arkansas is only 3 years from the person’s death. However, if your loved one died in a homicide, different laws may apply. So do not delay in seeking legal advice.

If a law firm agrees to take on your case, you know they feel your case has a strong chance of success. The law firm will use all its resources in building a strong case, establishing liability, and fighting for a fair settlement on your behalf. If necessary, a wrongful death attorney can also represent you in court.

Let Minton Law Firm Fight Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit

At Minton Law Firm, we understand what families go through after losing a beloved family member due to wrongful death. We know that you need a compassionate and experienced wrongful death lawyer on your side. An attorney who will give you the care and comfort you need while aggressively fighting for your rights with insurance companies and in the courtroom if necessary.

We have a track record of obtaining outstanding settlements for our wrongful death clients. For example, you can view, on our Verdicts & Settlements page, four wrongful death settlements won for $1 million or more each. One of these settlements was worth $3 million.

Each case is unique, and a wrongful death attorney is standing by, ready to give you the advice you need. Schedule a free consultation today by completing our online form or calling 855-Xadjuster night or day to discuss your case.

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