Home Curiosity The Cost of Negligence: Wrongful Deaths in the US

The Cost of Negligence: Wrongful Deaths in the US


There is nothing more tragic or more jarring than the unexpected death of a loved one. This pain is amplified, however, by the knowledge that such a death could have been easily prevented were it not for the careless negligence of a third party. By now, every state in the US has passed its own version of a wrongful death statute, with laws put in place to help the victim’s family to find peace in such emotionally trying times–and the Illinois laws surrounding wrongful death are extremely generous, with no cap on compensation for non-economic damages.

Workplace Incidents

Accidental deaths in the workplace, though becoming less common with the enforcement of regulations created by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), are still a very real issue in the United States. Worker’s compensation offers financial assistance to families grieving the death of a loved one after such incidents, but this is still only a fraction of the victim’s wages and is not nearly enough when compared to what has been lost. These families will find themselves questioning what could have been done differently to prevent such a tragedy–and that is the question, indeed.

If a family suspects that an employer’s negligence and failure to comply with proper labor laws–OSHA or otherwise–led to the death of a loved one, then they have the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit that could pay for any medical bills, funeral and burial costs, as well as any additional pain and suffering brought on by the victim’s death.

Road-Related Accidents

There are over six million car crashes every year in the United States alone, of which at least one million result in a fatality. In fact, each time you get behind the wheel, you have at least a 30% chance of getting in a car accident. Their commonality makes them the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States, behind heart disease, cancer, and covid-19. The top causes of car accidents in the US–driving while under the influence, driving while distracted, and otherwise reckless driving–all fall under the same umbrella of negligence.

By taking on the privilege of getting behind the wheel, each driver in the United States is taking on the responsibility to drive safely and prevent harm to others by following all traffic laws. If a driver fails to do so and their negligence leads to another person’s death, then the victim’s family has grounds to receive financial compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.

In situations like this, a wrongful death lawsuit is sometimes the only way a family is guaranteed financial compensation after the death of a loved one. While the state is inclined to take legal action against drunk drivers, the judicial system will not automatically award families any sort of compensation for their loss. This is why it is important for families to legally take action into their own hands.

Medical Malpractice

Surprisingly, medical malpractice is one of the top causes of death in the US, with nearly 100,000 deaths each year. When we imagine ‘medical malpractice,’ we tend to imagine errors that come from high-pressure situations like those that we see dramatized on the television. While these cases do certainly occur, the majority of medical malpractice cases seem to be born of simple, careless error. Misdiagnosis, for example, is a prevalent issue in medical malpractice lawsuits. Losing a loved one to something as preventable as misdiagnosis is especially hard to grasp–all of the evidence for the disease was there, their death could have been avoided if they had received the proper treatment for their illness, but their doctor read their charts wrong.

Another common cause of medical fatalities is error during surgery. This is when a simple procedure goes south because of a mistake made by the doctor. While it is important to make the patients aware of any risks they take going under the knife, accidents could be prevented if hospitals would take better care of their doctors, not forcing them to work shifts that last as long as 28 hours at a time. So, both the doctors and hospitals share the blame in any medical malpractice cases.

If a family does lose a loved one to any sort of medical malpractice, they should seek a wrongful death lawsuit, both in order to gain financial recompense for their loss, and to prevent any negligent healthcare workers from repeating the same mistakes. While this won’t bring their loved one back, it could save another family from suffering the same tragedy.