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Ask a Wrongful Death Attorney: 4 Signs of "Wrongful" Death

Ask a Wrongful Death Attorney: 4 Signs of "Wrongful" Death

The death of a loved one can create a very emotional and difficult time, and it can be even more devastating if you think their death was wrongful. But how do you know if your loved one's death is considered "wrongful" and what can you do about it? You might need to hire a wrongful death attorney to help prove this and provide closure.

Ask a Wrongful Death Attorney: 4 Signs of a “Wrongful” Death

1. A Death Occurring Under Suspicious Circumstances

If the death occurred under suspicious circumstances, it might be worth investigating further as "wrongful". A "suspicious circumstance" is one where the death itself was unusual or unexpected or one where there was evidence of foul play or violence. For example, it's considered suspicious if the deceased was in police custody or in the care of someone else at the time of their death. It's also suspicious if the death occurred during an ongoing investigation or criminal trial.


However, there might be circumstances not directly related to the death itself that are also considered suspicious. If the deceased had recently created a will, had a change to their estate, or expressed frustration or anger about something in their life, these are considered to be unusual circumstances leading up to their death. If an autopsy or other important medical test was not conducted on the deceased prior to burial, this is an unusual circumstance after death.


2. A Death Involving Suspicious Persons

Another way to look at wrongful death is to determine if there were any suspicious persons or entities connected to the death. For instance, perhaps the deceased had recently changed their will to include different beneficiaries or had signed over power of attorney. Or, maybe the deceased had recently expressed frustration or anger about other people. The people involved in the above situations could be considered suspicious and may be connected to the deceased's death.


Other scenarios include if the deceased was a witness that was threatened by someone prior to their death or the person considered responsible for the deceased's death has a criminal history, connections to organized crime, or was previously linked to similar deaths. Any of these situations would also be considered a death involving suspicious persons.


3. A Death As a Result of Someone Else's Negligence

A death caused by someone else could be under "negligent" circumstances, which is another determination for wrongful death. A key sign is if the deceased was killed as a result of someone else's reckless behavior. To claim this, you must establish negligence on the part of the responsible party. This can be done by showing that the responsible party failed to meet a duty of care owed to the deceased.


There are different nuances for negligence depending on the state where the death occurred that can make this type of lawsuit challenging to win. It's imperative you seek local counsel if you want to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit related to negligence. For instance, if the death occurred in the state of Texas, you want to search for wrongful death attorneys in Houston.


4. A Death As a Result of Intentional Harm

A death caused by intentional harm is another determination for wrongful death. Although the laws vary by state, there are several factors that could be looked at when classifying intentional harm: intent, act, and causation.



The "intent" factor decides whether the person who caused the death did so wilfully or deliberately. Pre-meditation, motive, malice, the understanding of possible consequences, and other details will be examined as part of this. The person's state of mind will also be critical here. Intent is a factor commonly brought up in criminal court.



The "act" factor refers to the action or inaction of the person that caused the death. This includes assault, battery, and homicide. It's important to note that not every act will result in wrongful death, so it's critical to understand the nuances. For example, if someone kills another person in self-defence, it would not be considered wrongful.



The "causation" factor looks at whether the defendant's actions were the direct cause of the death. Causation is based on the laws of physics and mathematics. There must be a direct link between the act and its result.


The death of a loved one is one of the most difficult experiences in life, especially if the circumstances were questionable. Deaths are usually considered wrongful if they were under suspicious circumstances, involve suspicious people, were a result of someone else's negligence, or were a result of intentional harm. Proving that a death was "wrongful" can provide closure. If you believe your loved one was a victim of one of these scenarios, consider hiring representation.

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