What Is Negligence Death?

Losing someone you love brings up intense emotions of grief and sadness that are never easy to overcome. The suffering may worsen after finding out the loss was completely preventable. If it were not for the careless actions of another, he or she might still be alive. Thus, this type of incident is called negligent death. When negligent death occurs, the deceased’s family members have a right to pursue compensation for their loss and the related financial impact.

Filing a negligent death suit to receive compensation can be difficult, but you do not have to worry. Phillips Law Group is available to meet your needs. We have over 26 years of experience helping our clients get the damages they deserve after losing a loved one, and we successfully negotiated over $1 billion in settlements in that time.

Call Phillips Law Group at (602) 222-2222. We are available 24/7 for a case evaluation that is free of charge. Calling us is the first right step you need to get the ball rolling on your negligent death suit.

Definition of Negligent Death

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, negligence means: “failure to exercise the care that a reasonably prudent person would exercise in like circumstances.”

When a person dies due to the negligent actions of another, the victim’s family can bring a negligent death civil suit against the responsible party. Negligent death laws may differ from state to state but commonly identify who can sue and the types of damages that can be received.

Since negligent death is a civil case, such cases are separate from criminal charges that may or may not be brought against the defendant. A liable person can avoid being charged with a crime and be found negligent and forced to pay damages to the family.

Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Negligent death is another term for wrongful death. Proving the defendant is liable is necessary for a plaintiff to win a wrongful death lawsuit to collect damages. Four elements must be established by the plaintiff to establish negligence played a part in someone’s death.

Duty of care

Duty of care is the first element. Our society requires us to provide a duty of care to each other in different ways. For example, if you are a parent, you owe your children a duty of care. An employer owes a duty of care to their employees. You owe a duty of care to others with whom you share the roadway. Doctors owe patients a duty of care when treating them. Proving negligence first requires proving the defendant owed the deceased a duty of care.

Breach of care

The next step after establishing a duty of care is proving that the defendant somehow breached their duty. Referring to previous examples, texting while driving is a breach of duty. An employer not providing proper safety equipment is a breach of duty. Doctors can breach their duty by failing to provide adequate treatment, allowing for a medical concern to worsen.

Another type of breach of duty is called strict liability. Strict liability applies to products on the market with dangerous defects. If the manufacturer did not remove that product by issuing a recall and someone died, they could be held in breach of duty. In this instance, there may be no need to prove there was a breach of duty, as it is automatically applied.


After proving there was a duty of care and the defendant breached that duty, the next step is establishing that the breach caused a person’s death. Two types of causation exist: proximate and actual.

Proximate causation is used to determine whether the death was a foreseeable outcome of the breach of duty. The role of proximate causation is to show whether an action outside of a person’s control could have prevented death. The defendant’s actions caused a death, but that death was not foreseeable.

An example could be a doctor offering a prescription, and later that patient dies due to an overdose. That could be considered a breach of duty. But the doctor didn’t know that the patient was taking something else that could interact with the medication. The doctor didn’t foresee an overdose death but was negligent not to do a full workup.

Actual causation is a more direct influence on a person’s death. You could reasonably foresee that a specific action (the breach of care) could result in a casualty. Suppose, for example, that a supervisor wanted to save money and did not provide adequate safety equipment. The result of the supervisor’s actions may have been foreseeable.


After proving causation, the next step shows that all the previous steps led to damages caused by the death. Essentially, what damages were caused to you and your family? This final element in proving negligence is the easiest to do. Undoubtedly, a loved one being killed caused damage to the family. Still, the full impact must be established to win your case.

Within this element, there are four types of damage. These four types of damages can include:

  1. Actual damages
  2. Special damages
  3. Loss of consortium damages
  4. Exemplary damages

Most of your family’s damages could be compensated if these four necessary elements are established. Call Phillips Law Group today to begin filing a negligent death case.

Damages Recoverable After a Negligent Death

Damages the deceased victim’s family can collect vary by state. It also matters who is claiming compensation. For example, a spouse could sue to recover the loss of a husband’s companionship and support. A parent could not be compensated for support, though. And a child of the deceased may sue for the personal loss of a father.

A negligent death attorney can help you get a clearer picture of the compensation you may be able to receive.

Here is a list of the damages possible after a negligent death:

  • Medical expenses 
  • Loss of wages
  • Loss of future earnings
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of support
  • Pain and suffering
  • Emotional suffering

Who Can Sue for Negligent Death?

After a loved one has passed away, the family may wonder what to do next. One question you might have is who can file a negligent death case. Many states dictate that only the established state executor or immediate family members can bring a lawsuit. 

“Immediate family members” are spouses, parents, and children. It may vary who else may be able to make a claim, like siblings, separated spouses, or adopted children.

Phillips Law Group is Your Go-To Negligent Death Attorney

The attorneys at Phillips Law Group have been handling various types of personal injury cases for over 26 years. One common thread in all these situations is the actions of individuals and companies who acted negligently. Sadly, many of these negligent actions led to the death of an innocent person. No one deserves to lose his or her life just because someone else could not be bothered to do the right thing.

While negligent deaths happen all the time, the unfortunate part is what families go through after losing a loved one. The grief, anguish, and anxiety of not knowing what their future looks like drives us to keep fighting for these families. After everything you have been through, you deserve compassionate legal services from a team of attorneys who have your back.

Call Phillips Law Group at (602) 222-2222 to chat about your case with one of our team members. You do not owe us anything until you win.