Car accident victims who suffer losses and injuries in a crash can typically recover damages from the at fault party who caused the accident. When someone dies in a motor vehicle crash as a result of another party’s negligent behavior, the deceased victim’s loved ones can file a lawsuit for wrongful death. They may claim compensation for the expenses and damages they incurred as a result of their family member’s death.
Requirements for Proving Wrongful Death in a Car Accident Case
Wrongful death claims are like other negligence claims. You will have to show the same elements:
- Duty. You will have to prove that the other negligent party owed a duty of care. This is generally a straightforward element in a car accident claim because every motorist on public roadways must act in a reasonably safe manner.
- Breach. You must next prove that the other party breached the duty they owed. Examples of such breaches in a car crash include speeding, driving while intoxicated, running a red light, or using a cell phone.
- Causation. Next you will need to prove that the breached duty was the direct and proximate cause of the injuries you suffered in the collision.
- Damages. The death of your loved one satisfies this element. A medical examiner’s certificate can suffice as proof of the cause of death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Car Accident Claim?
An experienced Stockton wrongful death attorney will consider all parties who could potential liability bring a wrongful death claim. Typically, the following parties may file a wrongful death claim after losing their loved one in a car accident:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving child or children
- Dependent minors living in the household
- Next of kin
- Personal representative of the deceased’s estate
If you believe you lost a loved one in a car crash because of another party’s negligence, you should consult a Stockton car accident attorney as soon as possible. In most cases, you will only have two years from the victim’s death or date of crash to file a claim. If you fail to file your claim within the stipulated period, you may be forever barred to pursue monetary damages against the negligent party.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
You may be entitled to generally two types of claims as part of your wrongful death claim: economic and non-economic losses.
Economic damages include:
- Funeral and burial expenses related to the death
- Medical bills associated with the initial incident and any care that occurred before the death
- The loss of the deceased’s expected lifetime earnings
- Loss of benefits the deceased would have provided, such as medical coverage or pension plans
- The loss of inheritance caused by the death
- A fair value of goods and services the deceased would have provided the household
Non-economic damages include:
- The pain and suffering are mental anguish of the survivors
- The loss of companionship, society, and love the deceased would have provided
- The loss of care, protection, training, nurturing, and guidance the deceased can no longer provide for their family
- The loss of consortium for a deceased spouse or partner
Consult with a Stockton Personal Injury Attorney
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that was caused by the negligent or reckless act of a third party, you may be entitled to monetary compensation. For more information or to schedule a free consultation with an experienced Stockton personal injury attorney, call the Srai Law Offices today at (209) 323-5558.