Learn about the most common causes of wrongful death
If you lost a loved one because of another’s negligent or reckless acts, you may consider a wrongful death lawsuit to get compensation for your damages.
Criminal cases are filed on the behalf of federal or state authorities. These cases must be proven beyond the legal standard of beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, after the presentation of the prosecutor’s evidence, reasonable people believe that the accused is guilty of the alleged crime.
In comparison, wrongful death lawsuits are filed by the deceased’s family. A wrongful death lawsuit seeks financial damages and is proved by a preponderance of the evidence. This legal standard of preponderance of the evidence is considered less difficult to show than beyond a reasonable doubt. Under this legal standard, the party with the burden of proof must convince the court that there’s a more than 50 percent chance that the allegation is true.
The purpose of wrongful death claims in Montana
The purpose of wrongful death lawsuit cases is to compensate the family of the person killed in a negligent or reckless act of another. The deceased’s surviving parents, spouse and children may file a lawsuit against any entity or individual alleged to be responsible for the death.
Causes of wrongful death in Montana
A wrongful death can result when someone acts in a reckless and negligent manner, without any concerns about another person’s safety or with the intention to harm or kill another.
Wrongful death may result from:
- Medical malpractice (e.g., wrong-site surgery)
- Product or material defects
- Another party’s negligence
This list of wrongful death claims is by no means extensive or all-encompassing, but we’ll explore some of these most common causes further.
Fatal vehicle accidents claims
Some of the common causes of Montana wrongful death lawsuits involving a car or truck accident include:
- Distracted driving
- Drunk or drug-impaired driving
- An aggressive driver with road rage
- Construction on roads and highways
These legal claims are also the most common throughout the United States.
For example, after a drunk driver claimed the life of one woman in Billings, Montana, in 2008, her brother filed a wrongful death lawsuit that was eventually settled for $400,000. The case was settled shortly before the parties were scheduled to go to court.
According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC), more than an average of 37,000 motor vehicle accident deaths occur each year. For this reason, motor vehicle deaths are also one of the top causes of wrongful death lawsuits.
Public transportation wrongful death claims
In 2021, a young widow filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Montana when her husband was killed in a preventable train crash. The wrongful death claim stated that 28 others have died in the past 10 years after other Amtrak derailments and crash accidents. Three people were killed in the accident, including a retired couple who were married for 50 years.
Work-related wrongful death lawsuits
A death that results from an accident or injury in the workplace may result from gross negligence by the company or a third-party. When this occurs, the victim’s family can file a wrongful death claim in Montana. For instance, if the victim suffered illness because of an unsafe or toxic work environment, faulty equipment, or fires or explosions resulting in death, the victim’s family could bring a wrongful death lawsuit in Montana.
Montana wrongful death claims can be submitted against the employer if the employee is killed in a work accident if the employer’s actions or words demonstrate a blatant disregard for the deceased’s safety. The employer must adhere to the standards put forth under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).
Prisoner wrongful death lawsuits
Prisoners have legal rights under the U.S. Constitution. A Montana jury deemed that Missoula County was responsible for the wrongful death of a prisoner in their jail. The victim’s loved ones received $565,500 in compensation for the death of Heather Wilson. She was previously convicted of felony check fraud, drug possession and theft.
If your loved one is killed in jail or prison, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer to discuss your rights to compensation.
Medical malpractice wrongful death claims
Medical professionals in Montana must provide the due standard of care to their patients. When they don’t, the result may be the death of a patient. The family of the deceased may file a lawsuit.
If the patient died from a possible prescription mistake, emergency room error, misdiagnosis/delayed diagnosis, surgical injury from a wrong-site surgery, or medical equipment problem, their family may file a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit.
According to Forbes Magazine, almost 100,000 people die from medical errors each year. About 10 percent of these die from prescription or dosage errors. If you suspect that a loved one’s wrongful death was due to medical malpractice, contact a wrongful death lawyer immediately.
Criminal action wrongful death cases
A wrongful death lawsuit may also be filed if your loved one died as a result of someone else’s criminal intent. An experienced attorney is necessary to manage this emotionally challenging matter.
No amount of compensation will ever return your loved one, but winning a wrongful death lawsuit can provide some measure of justice and closure to survivors, as well as financial aid.
Products liability death claims
Manufacturers, sellers, designers or distributors of products and materials must protect the public from risks that may be present in these products and materials. Bad design, faulty manufacture or the failure to alert consumers to the user’s potential for injury and death may form the foundation of a wrongful death lawsuit.
When to consult a Montana wrongful death attorney
Numerous accidents and unintentional deaths may result from another party’s negligence in Montana. If your loved one died after any of the above-mentioned incidents, you may need to hire an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Montana. Keep in mind that the above are only some of the common causes of wrongful death.