Car Accident Deaths: When is a Lawsuit Applicable?
Losing a loved one so suddenly can be very difficult to accept. To lose someone you love so violently and tragically make the trauma even more unbearable. And on top of that, to know that the loved one you lost is a victim to an unfortunate circumstance is just heart breaking. This is a feeling common to people who has lost their loved ones to a car accident. But after the pain and heartbreak has pass, what can the family left behind do to get justice for their loved one?
Wrongful death claim is a legal recourse a bereaved family of a victim can pursue when it has been determined that the cause of a car accident or any kind of accident for that matter, which resulted in a person’s death, is negligence of a certain party. So it is very important to first find out the details that lead to the accident before you decide to pursue a wrongful death claim.
In the United States, the top causes of car accident deaths are:
- Distracted drivers that usually happen because of texting or doing other things whilst driving
- Tired driver or “driver fatigue” is when the driver lacks sleep and rest (usually common with truck drivers and long distance drivers)
- Drunk driving that result to reckless driving
- Bad weather conditions
- Highway or street defect like uncovered potholes and under repair roads
- Car defects from the manufacturer
- Elderly drivers or minor drivers
In a wrongful death claim, it is very important to prove that the victim’s actions leading to the accident did not contribute to his death. For example, a drunk driver from another car was driving recklessly and hit the victim’s car and the victim died. If the defendant or the drunk driver can produce a proof that the victim was texting or was distracted while driving, then that can greatly affect the case. This is referred to as a “contributory negligence”. In some states, this can make your wrongful death claim invalid. More info about what a wrongful death claim is in this link.
In other states, they follow the “comparative negligence” rule. Therefore, if we use the same circumstance we used in the first one, the court will just deduct the percentage of fault by the victim to his claim. So if the court has decided that the texting was only 10 percent of the fault that resulted to his death, the victim’s family will therefore get 90 percent of the amount they were demanding for in their wrongful death claim.
Filing for a wrongful death claim can be very complicated as courts are more stringent in processing these cases compared to personal injuries claim. That is why, it is very important to get an experienced and skilled lawyer that has dealt with this kind of cases before to help you. That way, he can guide through the process and gathering evidence that is vital to your case. It is also important to file for the wrongful death claim at a certain period of time as most states have statute of limitations. Filing after the statute of limitations has expired will make the claim invalid.