According to the CDC, there were more than 42,000 traffic deaths in 2020. The most common cause of these deaths was speeding and reckless driving. In other cases, the cause of death was distracted driving, such as texting while driving. And in still other instances, The cause of death was alcohol use and aggressive driving.
All in all, more than 90 percent of all car accident deaths can be attributed to negligence. So what do you do when a loved one dies in a car accident due to negligence? You seek compensation by filing a wrongful death claim.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit filed by a close relative or the estate of the deceased. Relatives eligible to file a wrongful death claim are the spouse and children of the deceased. The more distant you are from the deceased, the harder it is for you to file a wrongful death claim.
For this reason, states will disagree on who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, parents cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit in some states if their children are adults, while they can in others.
Proving Wrongful Death in Car Accident Cases
You will be required to prove four important things to win a wrongful death lawsuit that took the life of your loved one:
Duty of Care
To illustrate this point, let us assume that the cause of death was a drunk driver. In this case, we need to prove to the court that if the driver was not drunk, the death would not have occurred. We need to show that the driver was at fault and that the alcohol impaired his driving skills. In simple terms, every driver has a duty of care to other motorists.
Breach of Care
Once we prove duty of care, the attorney will be required to show the court how this duty of care was breached. A good example is when you must drive within a certain speed limit, but you exceed the limit and cause a fatal accident.
Causation is a term that describes how one event causes another. An example of this is when a speeding vehicle causes an accident due to a burst tire. Most negligent drivers will try to argue causation so that they are not liable for the death. In a wrongful death case, the lawyer must prove how causation is linked to the driver’s negligence.
The last piece of a wrongful death puzzle is damages. Your lawyer will be required to generate quantifiable damages that you wish to recover. Some of the measurable damages are as follows:
- Loss of income
- Burial costs
- Medical expenses
- Pain and suffering of the deceased
Consult an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a family member due to negligence, you must file a wrongful death claim. For this, you will need to work with a qualified lawyer who is experienced in dealing with wrongful death lawsuits.
When we work together, you can rest assured that the law office of Lane & Lane, LLC will ensure the best possible outcome for your case. You can get in touch via the contact form on this website or by calling 312-332-1400.