What are the leading causes of wrongful death?


When your loved one’s death is caused by the actions (or inactions) of another person, you may have a wrongful death claim. We get calls from a lot of grieving families seeking to sue others for the wrongful death of their loved one. There is a wide variety of different contexts in which their loved ones have died, but there are some categories for this type of claim that are more common than others. Below are the top five most common claims in wrongful death lawsuits.

Motor vehicle accidents

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are about 5-6 million motor vehicle accidents per year across the United States. Of those, around 34,000 involve fatalities where at least one person (either the driver or passenger) has died. Sometimes, there is no one at fault – for example, the accident happened because a deer jumped into the road unexpectedly. But, more often with the calls we get, the accident has occurred because someone wasn’t driving carefully. In those cases, when we can link the careless or negligent actions of someone else, we file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the grieving family.

Surgical errors

Surgeons are responsible for doing exactly what they stipulate to and nothing more and nothing less. Perhaps they damage a nerve, operate on the wrong body part, leave a piece of surgical equipment (eg, gauze or scalpel) inside the body cavity, or they damage an organ. All of these mistakes support a medical malpractice action, as does any negligence by the anesthesiologist in the administration of the anesthesia. Your wrongful death lawyer can evaluate the actions and inactions of the surgical team who rendered you care and determine whether they committed medical malpractice.


Healthcare providers often misdiagnose patients, which could lead to death. The more common conditions that doctors misdiagnose are heart attacks and strokes. For heart attacks, for instance, a woman might come to the doctor with complaints of nausea, shortness of breath, and fatigue and the doctor will incorrectly diagnose her as suffering from premenstrual syndrome or indigestion. For strokes, for instance, a patient can come to their doctor with severe head pain and disorientation. The doctor misdiagnoses them with a migraine. In both of these cases, failure to properly diagnose the condition could lead to the patient’s death.

Delayed Diagnosis

There are many medical conditions that require prompt intervention by healthcare professionals. For example, when cancer is detected, a team of doctors start to plan treatment. Treatment could include surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, and immunotherapy. All of these treatments must be done as expediently as possible because untreated cancer can grow and become deadly. But these treatments won’t become part of a patient’s care plan if no one diagnoses them with cancer. We often get calls from people whose loved one’s doctor failed to notice cancer on their diagnostic test and thus treatment for that loved one was delayed. If a doctor fails to timely diagnose cancer in a patient, they are reducing the likelihood of the patient’s recovery from it and increasing the likelihood that the patient will die from it.

Workplace accidents

Another area that clients call us about is workplace accidents. This can include, for example, someone falling to their death on a construction site or someone in a manufacturing warehouse being exposed to a toxic chemical. Related to the above category, this also often includes workers who are killed in a motor vehicle accident while transporting products for work.

Our goal, as wrongful death attorneys in Philadelphia and its surrounding areas, is to help people who have lost a loved one and seek justice on their behalf. If you believe your loved one died due to the misconduct of someone else, contact us today at VSCP Law.


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