Legally reviewed by: Jessica Anvar Stotz
According to data from the National Safety Council (NSC), there were 224,935 preventable injury-related deaths in 2021. 20.1%, or 45,189 deaths were caused by motor vehicle accidents. An additional 2%, or 4,473 deaths happened at work.
While motor vehicle accidents and workplace incidents account for a significant portion of these tragic events, there are various other common scenarios in which wrongful deaths occur in the state of California.
Understanding the range of common scenarios is vital in raising awareness, promoting safety measures, and seeking justice for the victims and their families. From medical malpractice to defective products, each wrongful death case represents a potential opportunity for legal recourse. Below are 10 examples of wrongful death cases:
Motor vehicle accidents claim thousands of lives each year. Negligent driving behaviors, including speeding, distracted driving, and impaired driving, contribute to these tragic incidents on the roads.
A 16-year-old high school baseball player tragically lost his life in a car crash caused by illegal street racing. The parents filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Los Angeles County, alleging that a 911 operator’s actions contributed to the accident.
The lawsuit claimed that defective road conditions at the intersection also played a role. After a legal battle, Los Angeles County settled the civil lawsuit for $6.5 million. This case highlights the importance of proper emergency response and road safety in preventing such devastating accidents.
Workplace accidents occur due to hazardous conditions, lack of proper safety protocols, or equipment failures. Tragically, preventable incidents such as falls, machinery accidents, and exposure to toxic substances claim lives in various industries.
This workplace trucking negligence lawsuit resulted in a settlement of approximately $8 million. A worker was fatally injured while working in an industrial yard when he was pinned between a tractor and trailer. The plaintiff argued that the driver and the employer failed to adhere to industry standards and provide proper training.
The defense claimed that the worker’s employer and the industrial yard also shared responsibility. The case was settled after 8.5 hours of mediation, with the motor carrier’s insurer agreeing to the settlement amount under a confidentiality agreement.
Bicycle and pedestrian accidents result in wrongful deaths when motorists fail to exercise caution or violate traffic rules. Reckless driving, distracted driving, and failure to yield to pedestrians and cyclists contribute to these tragic incidents, highlighting the need for increased road safety awareness.
During a Halloween and birthday celebration, a young woman tragically fell off a center median into the street. As she lay on the road, a driver stopped in front of her but then ran her over, causing fatal injuries. The plaintiffs reached a settlement with the defendants, amounting to just over $10 million.
Slip and fall accidents, often caused by unsafe premises, result in severe injuries and fatalities. Hazards like wet floors, uneven surfaces, or inadequate signage can lead to fatal falls. Property owners’ negligence in maintaining a safe environment can be held accountable in wrongful death cases.
A wrongful death settlement of $4.1 million was reached after a tenant in an apartment building tragically fell three stories to a concrete floor when a detached guardrail failed to support his weight. The settlement acknowledges the devastating consequences of the incident and provides some measure of compensation for the loss suffered.
Wrongful deaths occur when individuals are harmed by defective products such as pharmaceuticals, appliances, or vehicles. Design flaws, manufacturing defects, or inadequate warnings can lead to fatal accidents or health complications, making product liability an important area of concern.
Three patients tragically experienced cardiac arrests and died after receiving dialysis treatments at clinics operated by DaVita Inc. Subsequently, the families of these patients filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the company. A jury concluded that DaVita had concealed crucial information about the risks associated with GranuFlo, a product known to cause harmful pH imbalances.
The jury awarded the families a significant settlement of $383.5 million, acknowledging DaVita’s failure to disclose vital facts and the potential connection between high pH levels and an increased risk of stroke or heart attack.
Medical malpractice cases involve wrongful deaths due to healthcare professionals’ negligence, errors in diagnosis, surgical mistakes, or inadequate patient care. These unfortunate incidents underscore the importance of maintaining high medical standards and ensuring patient safety.
The family of a newborn boy received a $3.5 million settlement following his tragic death due to medical malpractice during birth. Despite signs of fetal distress, the attending physician did not perform a necessary c-section in a timely manner. The settlement reflects the devastating consequences of the physician’s negligence.
Aviation accidents, including plane crashes and helicopter incidents, can result in catastrophic wrongful deaths. Factors like pilot error, mechanical failures, or air traffic control negligence contribute to these tragedies, necessitating thorough investigations to determine liability.
The families of five passengers who lost their lives in a 2022 plane crash off the North Carolina coast have settled wrongful death lawsuits for $15 million. The settlement was reached with the companies that owned the plane, employed the pilot, and the pilot’s estate. The crash claimed the lives of four teenagers, two adults, and the pilot’s adult son.
Wrongful deaths occur in boating accidents when operators fail to adhere to safety guidelines, operate under the influence, or overlook hazardous conditions. Collisions, capsizing, or drowning are incidents that can result in fatal injuries.
The surviving family members of a man who drowned off the coast of Huntington Beach received a $10 million settlement in a wrongful death claim against Catalina Sea Ranch (CSR). The family alleges negligence on the part of the aquaculture company for failing to maintain the underwater lines, which led to the boat capsizing.
Poisoning-related wrongful deaths can result from exposure to toxic substances, including chemicals, medications, or contaminated food and water. Whether accidental or intentional, poisoning cases require thorough investigation to identify liability and prevent further harm.
Big Olaf Creamery was ordered to pay $4 million, including $1 million in punitive damages, to the estate of a 79-year-old woman whose death was connected to a listeria outbreak traced back to the Florida-based ice cream maker. The woman suffered greatly, and her death had a significant impact on her loved ones. The listeria outbreak affected victims in multiple states and resulted in a pregnancy loss.
Nursing home neglect can lead to wrongful deaths when residents receive inadequate care, experience abuse, or suffer from neglectful conditions. It is essential to hold facilities accountable for maintaining the safety and well-being of vulnerable elderly individuals.
A California nursing home has been ordered to pay nearly $30 million in a wrongful death lawsuit for failing to provide proper care and causing the death of a resident due to untreated bedsores. The verdict included $28 million in punitive damages, reflecting the jury’s belief in the facility’s malicious or oppressive actions.
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