Every year, approximately 1.25 million people lose their lives in road crashes. That works out to more than 3,000 deaths every day.
Have you recently lost a loved one in a fatal car accident? If a family member was killed in a car accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
If you’re not sure if this is the right course of action for you, or if you don’t know how to proceed, keep reading.
Listed below is some important information regarding wrongful death cases. There are also some helpful guidelines on how to respond when a tragic event like a fatal car accident affects your family.
Wrongful Death Damages
Every state has different laws regarding wrongful death cases. Generally speaking, though, you can seek the following damages after a loved one was involved in a fatal car accident:
- Medical bills for emergency services
- The cost of a funeral
- Pain and suffering that the deceased experienced prior to their death
- The loss of the deceased’s future income and benefits
- Loss of companionship suffered by spouses, children, parents, and siblings
- Loss of guidance suffered by the deceased’s children
A lawyer will help you do the calculations and figure out how much money you’ve lost as a result of your family member’s death.
Who is Liable?
Many different people can be held liable after someone has been involved in a fatal car accident. The list of people who may be held liable includes the following:
- The at-fault driver
- Other individuals who contributed to the at-fault driver’s state (for example, someone who served them alcohol before they got in the car)
- Corporations, such as the company that manufactured a defective airbag
- Government agencies, such as the department that failed to put up signs indicating a driving hazard in a particular area
There are a lot of people and agencies from which you can seek compensation. You’ll need to work with a lawyer to determine which parties are at fault for your loved one’s accident.
What to Do After the Accident
If you believe that another driver was at fault for the accident and want to pursue compensation, there are some specific steps you’ll need to take.
Follow these guidelines as you begin to process of seeking justice for your loved one:
Hire a Lawyer
Hiring a Lawyer doesn’t mean you have to spend money up front. In fact many times the first consultation is free. Many of the best lawyers who are on your side will invest in your case.
After losing a loved one in a fatal car accident you really need to hire a lawyer. You don’t have to spend your money though. Wrongful death cases can be quite complicated, and you shouldn’t try to handle them on your own.
Having a lawyer on your side will help to minimize the stress you’re experiencing as you navigate the loss of your family member. They will also communicate on your behalf and ensure you are treated fairly by all of the parties involved.
Look specifically for a lawyer who specializes in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. They’ll have the most experience and the knowledge necessary to help you handle your case the right way.
Gather Information from Witnesses
The police report associated with your family member’s accident is a good starting point when you’re looking to gather information about the situation. It usually doesn’t tell the whole story, though.
Seek out witnesses who may have been present at the time of your loved one’s accident. Look for people who may have been with your loved one or the at-fault driver prior to the accident, too.
If anyone reaches out to you and says they witnessed the accident or the events leading up to it, collect their name, phone number, home address, and email address. Give this information to your lawyer so he or she can contact them.
Don’t Talk to the Insurance Company
The at-fault driver’s insurance company will likely reach out to you at some point following your family member’s accident.
When they reach out to you, they’ll probably ask you a lot of questions about yourself and your loved one. The purpose of this is to try and reduce the amount of money they have to pay you.
To avoid getting undercut or taken advantage of by the insurance company, do not talk to them without your attorney present. It’s also, in most cases, best to have your attorney communicate with them on your behalf.
Don’t Sign Anything from the Insurance Company
Do not sign anything that the insurance company sends your way, either. Wait until your lawyer looks at it and approves it.
If you sign a release from the insurance company, you could end up getting a much smaller settlement than what you deserve.
Let your lawyer look over all documents and negotiate them before you sign anything.
Losing a family member is a terrible thing. While you’re going through the legal process of recovering damages, it’s important to take care of yourself.
Work with a counselor to cope with the loss of your loved one in a healthy way. Find a way to honor them and celebrate their life, too. This will help to give you closure and make the process a bit easier.
Finally, remember to be patient. Wrongful death cases can take quite a long time to wrap up.
Don’t lose faith and remember that your lawyer is working hard to help you get the compensation and closure that you deserve.
Has Your Family Member Been in a Fatal Car Accident?
Do you have a family member who died in a fatal car accident? If so, it’s important to take action and respond in an appropriate way.
Remember these tips so you know how to handle the situation and take the right steps to seek justice for your loved one.
If you need to hire a lawyer to help you through this process, contact us at Mastrangelo Law Offices today.
We’ve been practicing and serving the East Bay area for over 35 years, and we’re here to help you handle your wrongful death case.
We have lawyers on-call 24-7 to assist you, so don’t hesitate to reach out.