Accidental Shooting: A Wrongful Death Case Possibility

Posted By Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys PC || 2-Jul-2010

Tragedy can strike anytime, as was underscored when a 26-year-old man was shot in NE Portland in June. The man was with friends when he was shot, and was still breathing when 911 was called. Taken to a nearby hospital, he died shortly thereafter. Although the shooting was deemed accidental, another man was charged with criminal negligent homicide, and police removed several guns from the house.

In addition to the criminal charge, the event could possibly result in a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of lawsuit is generally filed by family members whose loved ones have died unexpectedly because of someone’s carelessness. Wrongful death suits can typically arise from motor vehicle accidents, driving under the influence cases, medical malpractice, construction accidents, airplane accidents, assaults, and defective products.

Under a wrongful death claim, family members of the deceased seek damages to pay funeral and burial costs, as well as medical and other bills. Oftentimes, they also seek compensation for

  • their pain and suffering
  • loss of consortium (loss of companionship)
  • loss of future earnings anticipated over the deceased’s lifetime
  • loss of victim’s benefits (insurance, 401k)
  • Other out-of-pocket expenses

Wrongful death lawyers can help a family sort out the issues and determine if a case is appropriate for a wrongful death suit.

How much a family receives in such a case depends on many factors, including:

  • age of victim
  • health of victim
  • age and health of the heirs
  • life expectancy of the victim
  • life expectancy of the heirs
  • financial loss of victim and heirs
  • amount of insurance coverage
  • negligent party’s assets

In most cases, wrongful death lawyers do not charge clients any fees unless they win the damages.