When an individual is killed by the preventable negligence or recklessness of others, his or her death is characterized as a wrongful death. In these cases, the negligent or reckless party can generally be held liable for their behavior through a civil suit. However, this explanation does not do justice to the underlying truth of what a wrongful death truly is: tragic and tragically preventable.
In one recent case, the hazardous behavior of distracted drivers was made as plain as possible. A mother of two in her sixties had been struggling through a long, hard battle against breast cancer for five years. Just days after she was told that her cancer was finally in remission, she was killed by a 20-year-old driver who was texting behind the wheel. Just before impact, the driver apparently swerved into the grass and then skidded onto the wrong side of the road.
The judge presiding over the case told the young woman that “No message is so urgent that it requires someone to lose their life in responding to it.” And yet, so many motorists of all ages continue to send and receive text messages behind the wheel. Wrongful deaths caused by texting drivers are wrongful in both a legal and an ethical sense precisely because they are completely preventable.
When someone’s negligent or reckless actions results in the death of a loved one, the justice system recognizes the need to hold these individuals accountable. Very few individuals would ever purposefully take another human life outside of a war setting. However, wrongful death suits are meant to hold individuals accountable who unintentionally but negligently or recklessly cause life to be lost anyway.
Source: Express, “Gran just clear of cancer killed by texting driver,” Paul Jeeves, Dec. 14, 2012