What is a wrongful death case?

When someone dies as a result of the negligence another person or entity, family members may be able to bring a lawsuit for the loss suffered by victim's beneficiaries and by the victim's estate.  This type of lawsuit is known as a wrongful death claim.  

The term "wrongful death claim" is a label placed on a lawsuit because the injury suffered by the victim is death.  Any type of negligence can give rise to a wrongful death case.  For example, a wrongful death claim can arise from motor vehicle or truck crash.  It can also arise from poor medical treatment such as the failure to timely diagnose and treat cancer or heart disease, or from poor care received in a nursing room leading to a fall.  A wrongful death claim can also arise from a defective product such as a defective automobile.

The laws governing a wrongful death claim often vary widely from State-to-State.  The reason for this wide variation is that wrongful death claims were not permitted by the English common law upon which the laws in the United States were originally based.  Over time, every State enacted laws that recognized the right to bring a wrongful death claim, and established the rules that would apply wrongful death claims filed in each State.  

The serious personal injury lawyers at Shevlin Smith have decades of experience handling wrongful death cases in Virginia and Washington, D.C.