A wrongful death is a death that occurs as the result of someone else's intentional, accidental, or neglectful actions. That is a rather broad definition to be sure. A wrongful death accident attorney typically only handles the wrongful deaths that are the result of an accident or neglectful action that leads to an accident. Of course, that does not really clarify much for you when you want to know whether your loved one's death is lawsuit-worthy. The following examples will help clarify things and possibly even point out the wrongful death situation surrounding your loved one.

Death by Car or Truck (with or Without Drugs or Alcohol)

Death by car accident definitely falls under wrongful death. This is especially true if someone was driving erratically, driving way too fast, and/or driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. It also qualifies if the death was the result of mechanical malfunctions of the car or truck responsible for your family member's death. The police reports as well as the coroner's reports will help in discerning who was responsible, even in part.

Shot by a Police Officer

Police officers do make mistakes. Sometimes, as is the case in a hostage situation, police may accidentally shoot an innocent person. This is a wrongful death because the officer or officers did not wait to see if your family member was going to shoot and just shot instead. Innocent bystanders on the road or in the building who are killed by stray bullets are also wrongful deaths. They were not supposed to die but were accidentally killed anyway.

Medical Malpractice

Medical malpractice is a wrongful death situation that involves a negligent doctor, surgeon, or nurse. Deaths of this nature include failure to attempt lifesaving techniques, injecting patients with too much medication, failure to check on a patient who is a 24-hour or 48-hour suicide watch patient, and medical professionals who come into work under the influence and cause accidental harm to patients as a result of being intoxicated or "high." Sometimes if a lawyer cannot get "medical malpractice" to stick, he or she will help you sue for wrongful death. It is possible to sue for both simultaneously.


Yes, murder is a wrongful death. While the murder case may be ongoing, your lawyer can accumulate evidence to pursue wrongful death even if there is no conviction and jail time for murder. In fact, it is sometimes better for your wrongful death case if the supposed murderer is not convicted because then he or she may be forced to pay compensation for your loss—something that cannot be done if he or she is serving time in jail.