Published on April 2nd, 2021 | by Sumit Bhowal0
What Happens When Someone Dies Due to a Car Accident?
Car accidents are hazardous, and they are often fatal. Each year, about 38,000 people die in car crashes in the United States. That means that every day more than 100 people die in motor vehicle wrecks. These alarming statistics are a warning sign for the millions of Americans who drive every day on the nation’s roads. No matter how careful you are, driving is perhaps the riskiest activity many people engage in every day.
However, even though car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States, most people don’t know exactly what happens when someone dies after one. What will happen to the at-fault driver? If you or a loved one dies in a car crash, will your family be able to receive any type of compensation? How does the wrongful death compensation process work? Here you will find the answers to all of these questions and more.
The responsible driver might face criminal charges
Most car accidents occur when the driver of one of the vehicles acted illegally, carelessly, or recklessly. If the accident they caused leads to a person’s death, the responsible driver may face criminal charges.
However, this won’t be the case 100% of the time. The fact is that some accidents are just that, accidents. The accident can be fatal even when the responsible driver did nothing extremely irresponsible while driving.
The decision to charge the responsible driver with criminal charges after an accident rests with the district attorney. The prosecutor will have to evaluate several factors before determining whether the motorist was “criminally at fault” for the incident.
Some circumstances that may require a criminal investigation include the following:
- Speeding: If the responsible driver was driving over the speed limit at the time of the accident, he or she is much more likely to face criminal charges.
- Drunk Driving: Drunk driving is a severe crime and puts all drivers on the road at risk. If the at-fault driver was drunk when the crash occurred, they would most likely face felony and manslaughter charges.
- Reckless driving: tailgating, distracted driving, or excessive aggression behind the wheel are all reckless driving examples. This is a common cause of accidents on the road and often leads to criminal investigations.
Keep in mind that the criminal investigation results won’t affect your chances of obtaining wrongful death compensation.
The victim’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit
Of course, all the money in the world couldn’t bring back a loved one. Money won’t be able to help you get through the mourning and grief either, but it will help you deal with the difficult financial situation you may have on your hands after the death of a family member. A wrongful death claim could give the surviving family a monetary settlement that they can use to pay for medical bills, funeral costs, and other expenses. Furthermore, this compensation will be helpful with an uncertain financial future.
Now, to file a wrongful death claim, there must be someone who is at least partially responsible for the accident. That means that the accident must have occurred at the fault of someone else other than the victim.
To increase your chances of receiving the maximum compensation possible and getting the money you need to get through this challenging time, you should work with a Los Angeles car accident attorney like C&B Law Group. The attorney will aggressively defend your rights and guide you every step of the way.
Damages in wrongful death compensation claims
After a loved one’s death, surviving family members may receive compensation for the incident’s emotional and financial impact.
Some damages in wrongful death claims include the following:
- Lost wages: The loss of a loved one can be challenging if their income was vital to the household. Therefore, the family may be able to receive compensation for the wages that this person will no longer bring home. This amount of money will be determined based on the victim’s age, regular income, and presumed retirement age.
- Medical expenses: If the victim spent several days in the hospital before his or her death, the family might be able to recover all of their medical expenses through a claim.
- Loss of service: If the victim was unemployed, it does not mean that they did not contribute financially to the household. In these cases, the insurance company may consider the loss of services, such as child care, housework, cooking, etc.
- Funeral costs: An average funeral can cost up to more than $7,000. Therefore, the law stipulates that the victim’s family should receive reasonable compensation to pay for the deceased’s funeral expenses.
- Punitive damages: In very extreme cases, the court may determine that the victim’s family is entitled to punitive damages after the accident.
Who is financially liable if someone dies after a car accident?
If you want to obtain compensation for a wrongful death claim, then you’ll have to prove the other party’s liability. It may sound simple, but after a car accident, multiple parties may be at fault. You may even have to file a claim against various responsible parties.
Some liable parties may include:
- The other driver: In many cases, the primary responsible party for the accident will be the driver of the other vehicle.
- An employer: If either driver was engaged in any work activity at the time of the accident, the employer might be liable as well.
- Government: If the accident was due to poor road conditions or faulty signage, you might be able to hold the state responsible for the incident. In these rare cases, you will have to prove that the government knew of the danger before the accident occurred.
A local car accident attorney will analyze your case and determine who the responsible parties are and your case’s value. Most Los Angeles car accident lawyers, like C&B Law Group, offer completely free initial consultations. Feel free to call them to find out your case’s value in minutes.
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