Filing a Wrongful Death Suit From a Traffic Fatality
If a loved one died in an accident, you can hire a wrongful death claims attorney in Los Angeles. However, when that loved one’s passing is the result of a car accident, it can be difficult to know what kind of claims to file and if you need a Los Angeles injury lawyer.
Grey Law is a personal injury lawyer that can also ensure you are compensated for your loved one’s wrongful death. Following the loss of a loved one, a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind, but Grey Law will work to ensure that you receive justice in the form of financial compensation.
Wrongful death claims are meant to ensure that the family of the victim receives compensation for the mental anguish and financial losses that have resulted from the accident.
A wrongful death claim is a civil suit, which is handled differently than a criminal suit. Civil suits are brought forth by the victim’s family, which result in monetary compensation that is paid out by the defendant to the plaintiffs. The state can pursue criminal cases in order to put the defendant behind bars, and these cases are handled much differently.
It’s possible for someone to face criminal charges and a civil lawsuit for wrongful death at the same time. It’s also possible for someone to declared innocent regarding one case and not the other.
Car Accidents and Wrongful Death
Driving is an activity that many Americans have to do on a daily basis, but it’s actually one of the most dangerous everyday activities, as 39,000 Americans are killed in car accidents each year. While operating a machine that is surrounded by two tons of metal, you’d think that drivers would take their task seriously, but that’s not always the case.
Drivers frequently operate their vehicles without care, driving while intoxicated, distracted, or drowsy. These impairments can have disastrous effects on even the most capable drivers. The most common causes of traffic fatalities include:
- Distracted driving, including talking on the phone, texting, talking to passengers, or personal grooming such as makeup application or tooth brushing
- Driving while fatigued
- Driving while drunk or high on drugs
- Speeding and other aggressive driving tactics
Traffic accidents are part of driving, but they increase when drivers choose to exhibit the above behaviors. Wrongful death lawsuit lawyers come into play when the driver has exhibited gross negligence or intentionally harmful acts that result in the death of another.
Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim
When someone’s negligence leads to the death of a loved one, their surviving relatives can hire an attorney to pursue a case for compensation. The surviving relatives are typically those who were extremely close to the victim or dependent on them for financial support.
You can ask your wrongful death attorney which family member should file the claim, as this can vary from state to state. You should also keep a running list of the financial and emotional damages that the family has accrued over since the victim passed away.
Funerals are more expensive than you’d think. Burial costs in addition to the halt in the income generated from the deceased’s job place the surviving family members under severe financial pressure.
Some of the most common expenses that are compensated for include:
- The deceased person’s pre-death “pain and suffering”
- The medical treatment that the deceased person as a result of their injury prior to passing
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the deceased person’s expected income for the foreseeable future
- Loss of any inheritance as a result of the death
- Value of the services that the deceased would have provided
- Loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided
- Loss of love and companionship
Some of these damages, such as medical bills, are easily quantified; however, emotional losses can be more difficult to put a monetary value on. Your wrongful death attorney can tell you how to assign value to these claims, as it will help with getting compensation. They can even assign professionals to quantify them based on their expertise in wrongful death and emotional loss.
Proving Fault in a Car Accident Wrongful Death Suit
In order to receive compensation for a wrongful death claim, you must proof that the defendant is liable for the victim’s death by exhibiting negligence. Unless you were physically at the scene, you cannot know for sure that the other driver is at fault; however, a responding police officer will have made an accident report based off the scene of the accident and any eyewitness testimony. Your attorney will also conduct an investigation into determining fault in the accident, and they will use legal tactics such as depositions, interrogatories, and expert testimony.
In addition to the driver, you can hold the following parties at fault:
- Another individual, like the parent who served alcohol to minors at a prom party
- A corporation, like the company that made the defective car machinery
- A business person, like the owner of a bar that over-served customer, letting them get overly intoxicated before leaving
- A government agency, like a state highway department that failed to provide safe driving conditions on the roads
Dealing With Insurance
Since the death was the result of a car accident, you’ll also have to deal with insurance claims regarding the vehicles. Keep in mind that an insurance agency’s main goal is to provide as little compensation to other parties as possible, so you will likely receive pushback on your claim.
They may also contact you with a settlement in order to avoid a lawsuit. What should you do if insurance contacts you with a settlement? You should never accept this money, and instead refer them to your personal injury attorney. It’s likely that they are offering a lowball offer since they know a lawsuit will be costly.
Hiring a wrongful death lawyer is essential, as they are much more informed on these matters and how to build a case for compensation. Instead of waiting on the defendant’s or the victim’s car insurance, you should immediately hire a personal injury lawyer who deals with wrongful death claims. They can handle your case for you and ensure that you are receiving the maximum amount of compensation for your losses.