According to the CDC, unintentional injuries are the third leading cause of death in the United States, following heart disease and cancer. While some are accidental, most deaths caused by unintentional injuries carry some degree of negligence.

Each state has its own laws regarding comparative negligence. Some states, like Florida and New York, are pure comparative negligence states. This means that a wrongful death lawsuit may still be filed if the decedent was partially at fault for the circumstances that resulted in their death. However, the compensation that you may be entitled to will be affected by the percentage that they were at fault. 

What is Comparative Negligence?

Comparative negligence is the decedent’s conduct that contributed to his or her own death. In pure comparative negligence states, the amount awarded in a wrongful death claim will be reduced by the percentage of fault assigned to the decedent.

How is Negligence Determined?

Because wrongful death law can be complex, it is best to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney who can guide you through what factors determine negligence. In general, negligence is determined by the following elements:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased
  • The defendant breached this duty of care
  • The victim suffered damages (death)
  • The victim’s damages were a direct result of the defendant’s breached duty of care

These lawsuits become more complicated when the defendant claims the deceased was also negligent. The same elements would be taken into consideration when determining the negligence of the decedent. Examples of ways the defendant may claim the victim was negligent as well include:

  • In a car accident, the defendant may say the victim was not wearing their seatbelt.
  • If the victim died in a motorcycle accident, the defendant may claim the victim was not wearing a helmet.
  • In a medical malpractice wrongful death, the defendant may claim the victim withheld important medical information.

How A Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help

As stated, wrongful death cases that involve comparative negligence can become extremely complicated. Your attorney will need to not only prove the defendant’s negligence but that any role your loved one had in the cause of their death does not exclude them from compensation.

An experienced wrongful death lawyer knows what evidence is needed to build a strong claim and recover the maximum potential compensation on behalf of your lost loved one. The compassionate wrongful death attorneys at The Ferraro Law Firm have recovered millions on behalf of victims and their families, and have the experience and resources necessary to successfully advocate for your family’s rights.

Schedule a Free Consultation With The Ferraro Law Firm

If you lost a loved one and someone else’s negligence contributed to their death, contact the skilled wrongful death lawyers of The Ferraro Law Firm for a free legal consultation. We do not charge any up-front fees, and only earn fees if you receive a settlement or verdict. Our attorneys understand how difficult this time is for you and your family, and we want to help you recover the potential compensation you may be entitled to on behalf of the loss of your loved one.