The 3 Main Types Of Wrongful Death Claims

Seeing that someone close to you has died because another person or organization failed to prevent it is one of the most upsetting of all possible experiences. You may want seek justice by hiring a wrongful death attorney. Before you do so, it's a good idea to become familiar with the three basic types of claims you might be able to pursue.


This sort of claim arises from a failure of a party that was negligent but wasn't ill-intended toward the deceased. Suppose someone died at a music concert because there were sufficient fire escapes available at a nightclub. The crowd rushed the exits, and your loved one died because they couldn't get out before succumbing to smoke inhalation.

Laws in most local jurisdictions almost always clearly outline how many people can be at a venue. They also make it clear where exits have to be located, how signage has to be posted, and how accessible they have to be to members of the crowd. A failure in any of these requirements opens a venue and event organizers up to liability should someone die if a crowd rushes to get out and can't.


Secondly, wrongful death claims can arise from conduct that was deliberate and dangerous, but not ill-intended. The classic version of this sort of incident is if a driver was speeding and swerving in and out traffic. The motorist didn't intend to kill anyone, but any reasonable person could see how their reckless driving might lead to a fatality.


Finally, there are cases where a person did something deliberate and wanted to harm someone else. For example, an individual might have chosen to start a fight at a bar. They knowingly endangered another person, took violent actions, and that person died as a consequence. This would be seen by the court as malicious conduct.

Who Is Held Accountable?

A wrongful death lawyer usually looks at two possible parties as liable. First, there is the individual who took or failed to take certain actions. Second, there is the organization that employs them.

Consider a case involving a police officer who killed a suspect using a dangerous chokehold. The department might be held responsible because it's their job to ensure that officers are properly trained in using force to restrain individuals. Conversely, an officer who killed a suspect out of anger might be the focus of a case based on malice.