The Different Types of Wrongful Death Claims Explained

wrongful death claims

Accidents are the third leading cause of death in the United States. Many of these accidents were preventable. If you lost a loved one due to an accident that wasn’t their fault, you might be able to recover compensation for your loss. Keep reading to learn more about the types of wrongful death claims you need to know about.  

Vehicle Accidents

Car accidents are one of the most common examples of wrongful death. This is because of how many drivers are on the road and how often we drive.

This makes accidents more likely. The vast majority of car accidents are the fault of at least one of the drivers. Some are even the fault of a governmental entity if a road condition is to blame.

These parties can be held responsible for any deaths they cause in a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.

Car accidents involving cars striking bicyclists or motorcyclists are often the fault of the car’s driver. These accidents are more likely to be fatal because bicycles and motorcycles provide little protection for riders. 

Semi Accidents

Semi accidents tend to occur for different reasons than regular car accidents. This is because of the size and nature of semi-trucks.

Accidents are usually the fault of the semi-truck driver or company. Common causes of accidents include driver errors, problems with the truck, oversized loads, and driver fatigue. 

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrian accidents are usually the fault of negligent drivers. But sometimes, another party may be at fault as well.

For example, property owners or government entities may be liable if the pedestrian couldn’t see the car coming because of visual obstruction or inadequate pedestrian walkways. 

Product Defects

If a faulty product causes an injury resulting in death, a claim can be made against the product’s manufacturer. 

Product manufactures have a responsibility to design and test their products to make sure they’re safe. If they make a mistake, you can file a product liability claim. 

Work Accidents

When you think of workplace accidents, you probably think of dangerous industries. But the truth is, workplace accidents can happen in any industry.

If your employer puts you in a dangerous situation, they may be liable for your injuries or death. 

Workplace Illnesses

If an employee develops an illness as a result of workplace conditions, their survivors may be able to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.

You’ve probably heard of some of the most common causes of workplace illnesses. For example, asbestos exposure has resulted in the development of a type of cancer called mesothelioma. Workers who were exposed to hazardous chemicals and substances decades ago may not even realize that they are at risk for developing certain cancers and diseases later in life.

The fact that many employers knew the risks they were exposing workers to and swept it under the rug makes proving these types of cases easier. If you or a loved one has cancer or another disease that may be linked to previous working conditions, speak with a wrongful death attorney to learn more about your rights. 

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is one of the most common types of wrongful death claims.

Medical malpractice occurs when a patient is harmed by a doctor or health care provider’s negligence or mistake. This can include missed diagnoses, improper or misdiagnoses, errors during surgery, and even medication errors.

The key to proving medical malpractice claims lies in being able to prove that the health care provider didn’t follow a reasonable standard of care that any other provider would’ve followed in similar circumstances. 

Aviation Accidents

Although rare, aviation accidents often result in multiple fatalities. These accidents are usually caused by problems with the plane or pilot error.

Families and loved ones of victims can bring wrongful death claims against the airplane manufacturer, the airline, or the pilot. 

Premises Liability

Premises liability is a broad category that encompasses a variety of different accidents and injuries.

When you go in public or to another person’s property, you expect the property owner or manager to maintain a safe premise. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen.

Property owners have a responsibility to keep their property clear of known hazards. If you were injured on someone else’s property, they may be liable. If the injury is fatal, your family or dependents may be able to file a wrongful death claim.

Common premises liability accidents include slip and falls as well as visitors to the property being struck by an object. 


Drowning deaths may result in a wrongful death claim if someone’s negligence led to the drowning. Drownings can happen at private residences or public pools. If the drowning happened because the pool wasn’t properly secured or the decedent wasn’t being watched as promised, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. 

Boating Accidents

While fun, boating can be dangerous. If a boat operator causes an accident that takes someone’s life or fails to take proper safety measures and an accident occurs, a wrongful death claim may be filed. 

Poisoning and Overdose Accidents

Accidental poisoning and drug overdose deaths are on the rise in the United States. More than 800,000 people have died from a drug overdose since 1999. Many of these cases involve opiates.

While not all of these deaths will meet the criteria for a wrongful death claim, some of them will. If legal prescription drugs were involved, you may have recourse against the manufacturer or the pharmacist if there was an error on their part. Pharmaceutical malpractice claims are similar to medical malpractice claims. 

Criminal Acts

If someone you love was killed by a criminal act, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim in civil court. Your claim will be separate from the criminal case filed in criminal court. 

Animal Attacks

Dog and other animal attacks can also result in wrongful death claims. Each state has its own laws regarding animal bites, so you’ll want to talk to a wrongful death lawyer who practices where the accident occurred. 

Do You Have One of These Wrongful Death Claims?

If you believe you may have one of these wrongful death claims, you need to talk to a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.

You should also know that there is no exhaustive list of wrongful death claim types. Any death can be a wrongful death if you can prove someone else was negligent.

If your loved one was killed by someone else’s negligence, you have rights and may be able to recover compensation. We can help you evaluate your case and answer any questions you may have about wrongful death claims.

Click here to schedule a free consultation today. 

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