How Common Are Wrongful Death Settlements?

Wrongful deaths occur most commonly in auto accidents.
Wrongful death settlements require that the party filing suit show that the defendant was at fault in an accident.
There are many situations and circumstances that can result in wrongful death settlements.
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  • Written By: Tabatha Manuel
  • Edited By: A. Joseph
  • Last Modified Date: 17 December 2014
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Wrongful death settlements are fairly common. For example, more than 90,000 wrongful deaths occur each year in the United States, and many of these result in wrongful death settlements. The most common types of incidents that result in wrongful death settlements are automobile accidents, workplace injuries, medical malpractice, hazardous environments and workplace injuries.

A wrongful death happens when an individual dies because of another person’s negligence or actions. There are many situations and circumstances that can result in wrongful death settlements. In many jurisdictions around the world, the families of wrongful death victims can sue the responsible party for compensation and damages.

Auto accidents are the primary cause for unintentional deaths in the U.S. Driving under the influence of alcohol played a major role in many wrongful death settlements. Wrongful deaths in the workplace can be caused by things such as industrial accidents, chemical exposure and slip-and-fall accidents. Many wrongful death settlements occur after these types of incidents, and many employers are covered under liability insurance policies that pay these legal claims. If a business or property owner fails to maintain the safety of his or her property, then this hazardous environment can result in a slip or fall or other accidents that can result in wrongful death settlements.


Medical malpractice occurs when a doctor or hospital causes the death of a patient because of professional negligence. This negligence can occur in a number of ways, such as errors in surgical procedures, misdiagnoses of medical conditions and medication errors. Studies have indicated that about 100,000 people die each year from medical malpractice in the U.S. Most states require doctors to maintain a professional liability policy to cover medical malpractice suits in case they are sued and must pay for a wrongful death settlement.

Lawyers who specialize in wrongful death lawsuits can help the families of victims be compensated for their loss. These types of cases are handled by personal injury lawyers who fight to prove the negligence of the responsible party. Wrongful death settlements can involve large or even enormous amounts of money. To win a wrongful death lawsuit, lawyers typically must show that the responsibility party failed to act in a proper way and that his or her actions resulted in the actual death of the victim.

The laws regarding wrongful death settlements can vary from place to place, but most have similar elements. People who legally can file for wrongful death lawsuits generally include parents, children and distant relatives of the victim. Many jurisdictions have a statute of limitations for filing wrongful death lawsuits that limits how many years a person can wait after the victim’s death before it becomes too late to sue the responsible party.


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