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What Does "Wrongful Death" Mean? by Cleo Gib

What Does "Wrongful Death" Mean? by
Article Posted: 08/10/2016
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What Does "Wrongful Death" Mean?


You may have heard the term "wrongful death" before. While it sounds like a synonym for murder, it is actually a very different legal term. According to the Cornell University Law School, wrongful death refers to "civil action against someone who can be held liable for a death." You may be able to hire a wrongful death attorney in Pittsburgh, PA, to assist you with your case if someone you know died as the direct result of someone's actions. First, though, you should understand what all parts of the definition of "wrongful death" mean.

Civil Action

The term "civil action" refers to a lawsuit, also known as a tort case, or a case in which one individual or group is believed to have caused significant harm to another individual or group. The harm can be financial or even emotional. In the case of wrongful death torts, the harm is physical, fatal harm to someone.

These cases can be handled in a number of ways. They are often brought before a court—consisting of a jury or just a judge—or can be settled elsewhere with a meeting of legal representatives for both sides: the plaintiff, or the person who initiates the civil action, and the defendant, the person believed to have caused harm.

There are specific types of attorneys who handle civil action cases. These attorneys can help the injured party—in these cases, this refers to the surviving loved ones of a deceased person—prove that someone's actions were the clear cause of fatal harm to another.

The point of these cases is to submit a person who caused harm to consequences for their actions, as well as to compensate the surviving party of a person who has died.


The phrase "against someone who can be held liable for a death" refers to the fault of another person. If fault is clear or can be proven, then a former spouse or family member can take up the civil action against another individual or group. If you feel that the death of a loved one was directly caused by another person's conduct, then you and all others affected by the loss of your loved one can take your case to court. Often, these wrongful death cases are the only consequences someone can face for directly causing the death of another person.

Note the phrase "held liable for a death." This means that a person can willfully choose to harm another individual, choose to put a person in danger—though they did not directly inflict harm—or unintentionally cause action that led to another person's loss of life. Premeditated harm, ignorance, neglect, carelessness, or failure to act are many reasons why someone can be "held liable for a death." In all of these cases, this person is known to commit a tortious action, or harm against another individual that makes them liable for certain legal consequences.

Some common wrongful death cases include medical malpractice, dental malpractice, deadly auto accidents, and malfunctioning products. In most of these cases, the party who can be held liable for fatal harm to another party will attempt to prove that another individual's action or even simple misfortune harmed the deceased individual. If you are taking action against a physician, healthcare facility, or large company, then they have legal teams in place on the defensive end--in other words, they are aware that wrongful death suits may be brought against them at any time and are prepared to fight against these civil actions.

Legal Representation

If you want to bring a wrongful death case against someone, then you need someone with extensive legal knowledge, resources, and dedication to win you the compensation you rightfully deserve. A wrongful death attorney in Pittsburgh, PA, can fight for you so that those who have caused harm can face consequences for their actions.

Related Articles - Wrongful, Death, Attorney, Pittsburgh, PA,

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