It seems as if every year there are several high-profile tragedies involving guns – these might be carefully-planned mass shootings or accidents that can affect any family. When a gun goes off on accident, the results can be beyond devastating. One New Jersey family discovered that gun-related accidents can even occur when there are no adults involved. These types of situations may result in a wrongful death suit where the victim’s family receives financial compensation.
Local residents may have been shocked upon hearing of the incident: a boy only six years old was fatally shot by his neighbor, aged four. Apparently the children had been playing a pretend shooting game with one another in 2013 when one of the boys went and got his father’s rifle, which had been left unlocked in a bedroom. Tragically, the four-year-old shot his six-year-old friend, causing severe injuries which took the boy’s life.
The parents of the younger boy were held liable in the other child’s death; the father of the four-year-old served three years in prison on a child endangerment charge. Now, media reports indicate that the parents of the boy who pulled the trigger must pay around $600,000 as part of the wrongful death lawsuit settlement. This amount is in addition to the amount of punitive damages in the settlement. The actual terms of the agreement are confidential, although reports mention a judge ordered them to pay almost $600,000 last May.
Wrongful death suits involving children can be particularly complex. As loved ones struggle to come to grips with such an immense loss, it can be difficult to imagine beginning a wrongful death suit. Still, a successful lawsuit or settlement can ensure negligent parties are held accountable and that loss is addressed comprehensively after a fatal accident.
Source: NBC 10, “New Jersey Family of Boy Who Was Shot by 4-Year-Old Neighbor Settles Lawsuit,” Nov. 12, 2016
When a person has been harmed by the negligence of another, it’s not unlikely that the person who has been harmed will seek legal advice. After all, usually the harm comes with a financial aspect such as expensive medical bills and lost wages. In the case of wrongful death, though, the possible damages a family can receive may be complicated to understand, even more so during a time of severe grief and distress.
When a Delaware resident dies from severe injuries that they suffered because of another person’s or entity’s negligence, the family or other personal representative of the decease person can file a wrongful death claim. Of course, when a person dies, the true “damage” can’t really be calculated and the extent of it is likely to be unfathomable. Nevertheless, the law does attempt to quantify the financial harm caused by a person’s untimely death due to a fatal accident caused by negligence.
In a civil lawsuit, damages may come in two different, broad categories: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages typically seek to remedy a specific harm caused by negligence, such as the lost income of a family’s primary earner. Punitive damages, on the other hand, have as their objective the punishment of the person who committed the negligent act.
Compensatory damages often include medical bills, the cost of time taken off work and the cost of future work lost in a personal injury case. In a wrongful death case, compensatory damages are similar and can include the loss of expected income, medical and funeral expenses, and pain and suffering. An experienced wrongful death attorney can provide legal advice and answers to a grieving family’s questions and concerns.
Source: FindLaw, “What are compensatory damages?” accessed Aug. 22, 2016
With the back-to-school season upon many residents of Wilmington, many may be either going out shopping in the near future or moving into a new rental unit. In any event, a dangerous property condition can wreak havoc on a person’s plans for the rest of the year. Sometimes a shopping trip results in a seemingly simple slip-and-fall accident, only for the accident victim to suffer lasting injury later on. However, dangerous property conditions can also result in wrongful death situations where the victim’s family is likely to need extensive legal help.
Following a death that appears to be due to a dangerous property condition, such as a loose handrail on a stairwell, icy sidewalks, dilapidated construction or more, the family of the victim will generally want to be sure there was negligence involved. If so, they may be entitled to compensation. A wrongful death course of action can lead to badly-needed funds for issues such as lingering medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages of an income-earner and other expenses related to an untimely death.
Typically, the type of “duty of care” that a property owner owes to someone on his or her property depends upon the type of person on the property. For instance, the law often recognizes several different categories of people using property, such as invitees, trespassers and licensees. An invitee, for instance, would be a shopper inside of a retail store – usually, property owners owe the highest duty of care towards invitees. In general, a duty of care is the owner’s legal obligation to ensure the property is reasonably safe for those using it.
It can be very confusing for victims’ families to understand the liability of property owner with regard to their lost loved one. The legal situation can be different depending on if their relative was an invitee, a licensee, a trespasser or even a trespassing child. In addition, the elements of a wrongful death case will also depend upon different factors such as the age of the deceased, his or her income, their life prior to the fatal accident and the circumstances of the accident itself. Conversing with a wrongful death attorney can offer answers in the wake of an unclear liability situation.
Source: FindLaw, “Property owners’ legal duty to prevent injury,” accessed July 24, 2016
The unfortunate nature of accidents is that they are unpredictable and can strike at any time. For some residents of Wilmington, a fatal accident involving a loved one can change the course of their life forever. When accidents are a direct result of the irresponsibility of another, the outcome can be even more tragic as family members know the event was likely preventable. A wrongful death lawsuit may be fitting for these types of deadly incidents.
When asked what causes most fatal accidents, many people would likely answer “car accidents.” However, a new report sheds light on the surprising causes of many deadly accidents in the United States. According to information from the National Safety Council, the number of people who died accidentally in America during 2014 surpassed 136,000 – the highest figure ever recorded and one that is over four percent higher than the prior year. This staggering number of accidental deaths also proved over 15 percent larger than it was ten years ago.
Perhaps surprisingly, car crashes were not the biggest cause of accidental deaths in 2014. While over 35,000 individuals lost their lives in fatal auto wrecks that year, over 42,000 people died as the result of either an overdose or an accidental poisoning. The epidemic of heroin and opioid use has fueled this high rate of accidental poisoning death, which is four times as high as it was in 1998.
In addition to car accidents and accidental overdoses, more Americans are succumbing to fatal injuries caused by falls. This could be due to an aging population and the fact that nowadays, people are living longer than ever and as a result their bodies may be frail and in need of vigilant care which isn’t always provided.
An accident can be caused by many different factors – from the hidden dangers in a dangerous property condition to an inattentive driver to a negligent prescriber. In any event, the tragedy that results may have been prevented. While a wrongful death suit cannot bring back the loved one lost tragically lost in an accident, it could help hold a negligent party responsible for the losses and damages caused by the incident..
Source: Delaware Public Media, “More than ever, Americans are dying by accident,” David Schaper, June 11, 2016
When families of a Delaware deceased accident victim first ponder a wrongful death lawsuit, they may encounter the reality that a price cannot be put on someone’s life. However, the sudden loss of a family member often means that the rest of the family is thrown into financial turmoil. Funerals are notoriously expensive, and the deceased often has medical bills left unpaid, which only continue to grow after an accident. Moreover, accident victims may be a family breadwinner or otherwise contribute to the family’s financial well-being. All of these factors can combine to make an unexpected death financially devastating for the victim’s family.
Confronting a loved one’s death is never easy, but sometimes an accident victim’s passing needs to be investigated to determine if negligence played a role. When a Delaware resident is killed as a result of someone else’s negligence or misconduct, the family or other entities may be entitled to compensation. The purpose of such compensation is not to take the place of the lost loved one, but rather to make the affected party “whole again” in the sense that they are no longer adversely affected by huge, unanticipated costs.
The attorneys at Murphy & Landon are experienced in resolving a variety of wrongful death cases on behalf of grieving families. Their legal advice can serve multiple purposes: to obtain compensation for families, to guide these families through the civil lawsuit process and to help families obtain accountability for negligent individuals or companies.
After a fatal accident, it can be tough to know where to turn. The wrongful death lawyers at Murphy & Landon have helped many families begin – and end – the process of securing the compensation to which they are entitled. Whether it is highlighting evidence for pain and suffering or calculating the amount of lost future wages, the many complicated aspects of a wrongful death case do not need to be tackled alone.
Dealing with a fatal accident is likely the worst nightmare of any individual or family who has lost a loved one. Whether it was a car accident that produced fatal injuries, a dangerous property condition that took a life or some other scenario, the aftermath can be devastating.
In the state of Delaware, like other states, certain parties can pursue compensation for wrongful death. What is a wrongful death? The Delaware Code defines a wrongful act as an act, an incident of neglect or a default that would have – under state law – permitted the injured party to sue for personal injury if death had not occurred. In other words, a wrongful act is one which, were it not for the actual death, would have entitled the harmed party to bring forth a personal injury suit. In such situations the victim’s family may explore a wrongful death suit in order to obtain compensation and hold negligent parties accountable.
If a wrongful act has caused someone’s death, the family is likely to wonder who is liable. This may not be obvious, as there can be multiple parties responsible for a wrongful act which caused a death. In some incidents, such as countless car accidents, the legal action may be brought against a single responsible individual. Interestingly, under Delaware law action can also be brought against a vessel – in a coastal state like Delaware, this may be pertinent to some families’ circumstances.
Action may also be brought against the personal representative of a deceased individual who committed the wrongful act which led to death. This is commonly seen in vehicle accident cases in which the negligent or reckless individual also died in the crash, but it can apply to other types of fatal accidents as well. A Wilmington wrongful death attorney can explain who is liable for a wrongful death and offer legal advice to local families.
Source: Delaware Code Online, “Chapter 17: Survival of Actions and Causes of Action; Wrongful Death Actions,” accessed Feb. 10, 2016
The last thing any property owner wants is an accident occurring on his or her property. Still, accidents, by their very nature, can be unexpected and sometimes unavoidable. On the other hand, some accidents are entirely preventable and need not happen. When a damaging accident occurs on someone else’s property, the injured party – or the deceased victim’s family – will understandably want answers. In some cases they may be entitled to compensation for damages.
What is the liability of property owner in a fatal accident situation? In Delaware, the law limits situations in which an injured or harmed party can bring suit against a property owner. Specifically, Title 25, Chapter 15 of the Delaware code mentions that no person who enters onto another’s property can have a cause of action against the property owner unless certain conditions are met. First, if the damaging accident was caused by an intentional act on the part of the owner or occupier. Secondly, if the accident was caused by “willful or wanton disregard” of others’ rights.
While a portion of the Delaware code outlines some of the general aspects of property liability in the state, navigating the law can be extremely difficult. A Delaware wrongful death or personal injury attorney can help an injured person or family understand the law and assert their rights before it. Accidents that are the result of dangerous property conditions can cause a family to incur significant expenses. Coping with these costs is never easy, but it doesn’t have to be impossible with the help of a legal professional.
With the holiday season around the corner, local residents will likely be inviting others onto their property or visiting others’ properties. Whatever the case, it’s important to keep safety first and know where to turn for help.
Source: State of Delaware, “Chapter 15: Tort liability of property owners,” accessed Nov. 13, 2015
One of the worst things any person can go through is the loss of a loved one at the hands of another. Even when the other person’s involvement in the death is entirely accidental, it can be enormously difficult to come to terms with a shocking, unanticipated loss. In cases of fatal accidents, as tough as it may be, it can be ultimately beneficial to hold a negligent party accountable for their irresponsible actions or neglect.
A wrongful death lawsuit can offer many things to a grieving family. While nothing can bring back their loved one, a civil suit may help a family move forward in light of a sudden loss. When the death was caused by another’s negligence, such as a person driving drunk on Delaware roads, a wrongful death suit can award the family compensation for their loss. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the legal system is “putting a price” on a loved one’s life; rather, the compensation is for specific damages caused by the untimely death.
At the law firm of Murphy & Landon, the compassionate and assertive attorneys are poised to help when severe injuries lead to wrongful death. They can help a distraught family understand the damages caused by the fatal incident, including medical expenses, funeral expenses and other costs stemming from the incident. In addition, a wrongful death suit may be able to address the loss of a breadwinner in the family, or the loss of an earner whose income helped care for children, elderly relatives or other members of a family. Finally, compensation in a wrongful death suit may also address the loss of companionship and pain and suffering associated with a loss.
While an unexpected death can be traumatic enough on its own, the expense it may bring can compound the situation for any Delaware family. However, there are legal options available for obtaining compensation. The attorneys at Murphy & Landon have recovered millions for their clients, helping individuals and families recover in the face of the unthinkable. A no-cost case evaluation is available, and no attorney’s fees are charged unless compensation is recovered.
There are few things tougher to cope with than the loss of a loved one. In cases where a loved one’s death is sudden and unanticipated, families may struggle severely with both shock and grief. Once the shock begins to wear off, a family often has a new set of struggles: getting by without an income earner, loss of companionship, medical bills for severe injuries, funeral bills and other new expenses related to a fatal accident.
How can grieving families begin to deal with these daunting challenges? If the death was caused by the negligence of another, a wrongful death cause of action may be pursued and compensation may be awarded. In Delaware, a wrongful death suit can be brought on behalf of the deceased person’s spouse, child, parent or sibling. If there are no individuals qualifying as any of the above types of relatives, a wrongful death action may be brought by any of the deceased’s relatives by blood or marriage.
How is compensation awarded to these individuals at the conclusion of a wrongful death suit? A jury or court will decide based on considering the circumstances of the case and then awarding an amount they consider fair compensation for the harm caused by the unexpected death. The following may be considered when awarding wrongful death compensation: loss of financial benefits associated with the continued life of the victim, mental anguish, funeral expenses, loss of household, marital or parental services and loss of support contributions.
It’s helpful to know that many of these reasons for compensation come with their own rules; for example, compensation for funeral expenses must be “reasonable” and usually in an amount no higher than $7,000. A Delaware wrongful death attorney can help a family understand what types of compensation they may be entitled to and how to pursue it via a wrongful death action in civil court.
Source: Delaware Code Online, “Chapter 37. Survival of actions and causes of action; wrongful death actions,” accessed Aug. 8, 2015
The Share the Road and Respect Your Ride campaigns, sponsored by the Delaware Office of Highway Safety as well as state and local law enforcement, will be coming to an end this Saturday, but that’s when the true work begins to promote motorcycle safety.
Both drivers and motorcyclists need to do their part for the next week, month, year and decade to reduce the number of motorcycle accidents that occur in the state. Here are the main takeaways from the safety campaigns that should be remembered:
Share The Road campaign: Tips for drivers
- Stay alert and watch for motorcyclists
- Allow for more following distance between your car and a motorcycle
- Give a motorcyclist the full lane width
- Always use turn signals when turning or changing lanes
- Don’t drive while distracted or impaired
Respect Your Ride campaign: Tips for motorcyclists
- Ride in the middle of the lane
- Wear a DOT-approved helmet
- Follow all traffic laws and be properly licensed
- When changing lanes or turning, use turn signals
- Wear bright clothes to be more visible to drivers
- Don’t ride while distracted or impaired
The Delaware OHS reports that about 12 percent of all total fatalities in Delaware involve motorcyclists. We can all do our part to reduce serious and fatal motorcycle accidents in the state by following these safety tips and having respect for one another on the roads.
Our firm has assisted many victims of motorcycle accidents and their families in personal injury claims over the years, which is why we understand how important it is for these accidents to be prevented. We are also experienced riders ourselves, so these cases are very personal to us.