Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawyers
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Driving can be a dangerous activity, and even when you take all the necessary steps to ensure your safety on the road, accidents can still happen. Car accidents can range in their severity, from minor fender benders to fatalities. The worst-case scenario is a car accident leads to the death of a loved one. If this is the case, you may feel lost and confused. You may not know what you should or even can do next.
Although no amount of money will truly compensate you for the loss of a loved one, you may want to consider filing a wrongful death claim to ease the financial burden created.
You may be entitled to seek compensation for funeral expenses, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and several other categories of damages. If this is the case, consider consulting with an experienced lawyer to determine what steps need to be taken and potential outcomes in your specific situation.
What is a Wrongful Death Car Accident?
A wrongful death car accident is a fatality caused by someone else’s negligence or recklessness. These deaths are usually unintended and avoidable. A case involving death is not a criminal case, and therefore the offending party does not risk any criminal penalties. Instead, it is a case is a civil case in which claims are filed against the responsible party in pursuit of financial damages to compensate the family of the victim for the costs created from the death of their loved one.
Who Is at Fault?
Usually, when filing a lawsuit, the most important aspect of your claim is determining who is at fault. States may vary on who may be held liable, or at fault, in these claims. An important thing to remember in such claims is that more than one party can be held responsible for the death of a person.
Parties that may be held liable in wrongful death claims include:
- Other drivers
- Vehicle or parts manufacturers
- Parties responsible for the upkeep of roads, traffic signals, etc.
Fault must be proven by evidence. Fault can be determined by photos of the accident, eyewitness testimony, police reports, or data received from the vehicle itself. The standard of proof in fatal accident claims is not as high as the standard in criminal cases, but it is still important to be prepared for every possibility. Therefore, consider speaking with an experienced attorney to learn about the complexities of litigation and potential outcomes of your case.
What to Do After a Fatal Car Crash
If you have been involved in a car accident, there are important steps you should consider taking.
1. Seek Medical Attention
Whenever you are involved in a car accident, your primary concern should be everyone’s safety. With this in mind call emergency services immediately.
2. Gather Evidence
While those who need it are receiving medical care, it is also important that you check the scene of the accident. This means you should be attempting to gather as much evidence of the accident as possible.
3. Call an Attorney
Contact an experienced attorney who can explain to you the next steps that may need to be taken. If the worst is to happen and someone dies in the accident, there are other important things that need to be done.
Fatal Accident Statistics
In the United States, automobiles are used by millions of people daily making car accidents inevitable. With this in mind, it is important to know the facts about car accidents:
According to Safer America:
- In the United States, in 2016, there were 34,439 police-reported fatal car accidents
- 58% of police-reported fatal car accidents involved only one vehicle
- 48% of all fatal car accidents took place at night
- The risk of car accidents is higher among 16-19-year-olds than among any other age group
- In 2016, 3,450 people were killed due to distracted driving
- While listening to conversations or music the amount of focus a driver has dedicated to driving decreases by approximately 40%
- Approximately ¼ of all car accidents in the United States are caused by phone usage while driving
- Approximately 22% of car accidents are due to inclement weather
A multitude of different factors may cause a fatal car accident. Each specific case is different and has various factors. However, one of the most common causes of car accident deaths is another driver’s negligence.
Common causes may include:
- Distracted drivers
- Drunk or otherwise impaired drivers
- Driver fatigue
- Aggressive drivers
- Road construction
- Vehicle defects
- Road or highway defects
- Inexperienced drivers
- Poor weather conditions
Who Can Make a Claim?
Wrongful death claims are usually filed by a representative of the estate of the victim on behalf of surviving family members or those who had a close relationship with the victim. When considering whether or not you have the ability to file a claim, it is essential to remember that states vary in this regard. Usually, the more extended the relationship is, the harder it will be to show that you should be given the right to file these claims.
In some states, only the executor of the deceased’s will can file a claim, while in others any person interested in the estate of the deceased can file such claims. Consider consulting an attorney to see if you have the authority to file a claim in your state.
Examples of people who can file claims include:
- The executor or the deceased’s administrator
How to File A Lawsuit
1. Speak with an Attorney
Speak with an attorney to help determine your current legal position, how a lawsuit of this nature is dealt with in your specific state and also to ensure that you are doing all you can to seek justice. Zinda Law Group offers free consultations and a no win no fee service to clients, ensuring that you do not have to worry about legal fees at this time.
Your attorney will then proceed to investigate your case. Your attorney must be able to prove fault and in doing so will seek to establish the following facts:
- Duty of Care –that the person at fault owed a duty of care to the victim. All road users have an inherent duty of care towards other road users, i.e., to ensure their safety by not driving recklessly or with intent to harm another person.
- Breach of Duty –that the person at fault breached that duty.
- Causation – that the breach of that duty is what caused the death of the victim.
- Damages – that there were damages as a result of the accident. For a death case, this is relatively straight forward as the victim will be deceased.
Once your attorney has built the most persuasive case possible for you, they will then proceed to negotiate a settlement for you. How long it takes to reach an agreement will depend on the specifics of your case. Every case is different, and therefore the timelines for each case may vary substantially.
Every state has its own wrongful death laws and therefore the compensation you may seek may vary from state to state. However, there are some common areas of compensation that family members may be able to pursue. It is also important to know that compensation is divided into economic and non-economic damages. To get a more accurate understanding of the different accidental death laws in your state, consider consulting an experienced attorney.
Common economic and non-economic damages that may be sought in include:
- Funeral expenses
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering of the deceased before death
- Loss of future income
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of guidance and mentoring
It is important to remember that every case is different, and the values of settlements may vary. To get an accurate estimate on the amount you may seek, speak with a lawyer.
Legal Time Limits (Statute of Limitations)
Every state has time limits, called the “statute of limitations,” on when a person can bring a lawsuit. Generally, states allow two years from the death of the victim for parties to file a claim. However, it is important to remember that this does not apply to all states. Some states allow just one year while others may allow 3. To get a more accurate timeline on how much time is left for you to file your lawsuit, speak with an attorney.
Talk to Zinda law Group
At Zinda Law Group, our nationwide wrongful death lawyers have helped many families after losing a loved one in a car accident. We have the knowledge and resources necessary to help you pursue the maximum compensation available under the law, and we are dedicated to showing you care and compassion throughout your case.
Our lawyers will aggressively fight to seek full compensation, including lost income and savings, emotional pain and suffering, psychological counseling, and loss of companionship.
We also work on a contingency fee basis, which means you will pay nothing unless we win your case.
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident due to the negligence of another, call Zinda Law Group at (855) 693-9177 to receive your free consultation with one of our experienced accident lawyers.
Meetings with attorneys by appointment only.