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How to File a Wrongful Death Claim After a Car Accident

The sudden and unexpected death of a loved one as the result of an automobile accident is a challenging and tragic situation to be in. It is impossible to fathom the suffering and grief that a family must go through in the aftermath of the death of a loved one. Your life can dramatically shift in a split second. You will no longer have access to their emotional guidance, and the family unit may suffer a significant loss in terms of both personal support and financial assistance. After suffering the loss of a loved one in a car accident in Phoenix due to wrongful death, the future can be a worrying and unknowable place to be.

If you are a member of the family of someone who was killed in a car accident, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to seek justice with the help of a car accident lawyer for the passing of your loved one and the loss of their life. It’s possible that you could file a Wrongful Death Claim in this scenario.

When Is a Death from a Car Accident a Wrongful Death?

Every year, approximately 40,000 people lose their lives in automobile accidents across the United States. According to the laws, the passing of a person due to injuries sustained in a car crash does not automatically constitute a wrongful death. A death that occurs as a result of the negligent behaviors or actions of another person is considered a wrongful death. If this is the case, the death of the victim may be considered a wrongful death by the legal system.

The elements required to prove a wrongful death case, as well as the parties who are eligible to make a claim, differ from state to state due to the fact that each state determines wrongful death laws. In the majority of situations, in order for a party to be able to file a claim or suit for wrongful death damages, they will need to demonstrate that the wrongful death occurred as a result of the actions or inactions of another party. In addition to this, a claimant is required to demonstrate that the actions in question were the direct cause of the wrongful death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Depending on the location of the accident, different individuals or groups may be eligible to bring a claim for wrongful death. Following the wrongful death of a family member or friend, the laws of each state specify who is eligible to file a claim for financial compensation in court. In many states, certain members of the deceased person’s immediate family have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the event that the deceased person is killed in a car accident. However, an action for wrongful death brought on behalf of a family in one state may require the filing party to appoint a personal representative of the estate in another state.

What Family Members Are Eligible to File Wrongful Death Actions?

In the context of wrongful death claims and lawsuits, the term “family” typically refers to members of the victim’s immediate family. This is despite the fact that “family” can refer to a wide range of relationships. Your ability to file a claim for the wrongful death of a family member will be contingent on the nature of your relationship with the deceased individual as well as the number of other surviving family members who have a potential interest in the claim.

In many states, the following members of a decedent’s family are eligible to file a wrongful death claim:

  • A spouse
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Siblings

Are Family Members the Only Parties That Can Bring a Wrongful Death Action?

Some state statutes require or allow the estate of a victim to file a claim for wrongful death and outline the necessary elements a case needs to proceed in this instance. In other states, filing a claim for wrongful death is optional.

How Do You Prove Your Loved One’s Car Accident Death Was a Wrongful Death?

Car Accident Death Was a Wrongful Death?

You might not be certain that the death of a loved one that occurred as a result of a car accident was a case of wrongful death, but you might have a strong suspicion that the actions of another party were the cause of their fatal injuries. Simply asserting that someone’s death was unjustified is not enough. You, as a surviving family member who is filing a claim, are required to provide proof. It is possible to establish a victim’s right to compensation for injuries sustained as a result of another driver’s negligence in the same way that it is possible to establish a deceased victim’s right to compensation for wrongful death.

Sadly, suppose the victim of a car accident that resulted in wrongful death passed away at the scene of the collision or shortly after that as a result of the life-threatening injuries they sustained. In that case, you may not have access to the victim’s perspective on how the accident took place or what transpired. Despite this, there is still a chance that members of your family will take action. A number of different pieces of evidence need to be considered in order to prove liability and fault in a car accident that resulted in wrongful death.

Read More: How many car accidents happen close to where you live?

What Compensation Is Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?

You, as the party who is filing a claim for wrongful death, are required to demonstrate not only who was to blame for the avoidable death of your loved one but also the damages associated with the case. Damages awarded in cases of wrongful death are often calculated very differently than those awarded in cases of personal injury. In addition, state laws dictate the nature of the financial restitution that a victim’s family may seek after a fatal auto accident that was the result of wrongful death.

In some states, you may be able to recover damages for a variety of losses, but in others, recovery may be limited to only a select few types of losses. In addition, some states let the estate of a deceased person file a survivor action.

It would be best if you had a conversation with your wrongful death attorney about the legal options and remedies that are open to you, as well as which ones are the most suitable for your circumstances. You may need the assistance of a car accident wrongful death attorney to determine the most effective way to move forward with your case.

The following are examples of common types of damages that may be available in wrongful death cases:

Costs associated with the funeral and the burial. In the event that your loved one was the victim of wrongful death, you may be entitled to compensation for the costs of making after-death arrangements for them.

Expenses incurred by the victim for medical treatment. The costs of emergency medical treatment, transportation, or hospitalization immediately following an accident and immediately prior to the death of a loved one can be included in a claim or lawsuit filed by you or on their behalf.

The victim will suffer a loss of income as a result. It’s possible that you’ll be able to get back some of the money that your cherished one would have earned in their lifetime and contributed to the family unit.

The absence of the emotional support provided by a loved one. The death of a loved one can result in a significant reduction in the amount of support and guidance you receive throughout your life.

The absence of the victim’s company and the positive influence they provided. In addition to the financial contributions that are no longer available to the family after a wrongful death, the family may also lose the companionship of their deceased loved one as well as the ability to rely on them for day-to-day responsibilities.

The anguish and distress endured by the members of the family who survived. In some states, surviving family members of a loved one who was killed in a car accident have the right to seek financial compensation for the physical pain, mental anguish, and emotional trauma they endured as a result of the untimely death caused by the negligent actions of a third party.

The anguish and distress endured by a victim as a result of certain events. Although it is possible for a victim of a car accident resulting in wrongful death to pass away instantly or at the scene of the collision, it is also possible for a victim to survive for some time before succumbing to the grave injuries they sustained. If a member of your family survived the accident for any length of time, you may have grounds to file a claim for damages on their behalf for the pain and suffering they endured as a result of the incident.

Damages intended to punish. You may be able to recover punitive damages in cases involving car accidents if the death of a loved one was caused by egregious behavior, such as driving under the influence of alcohol. A car accident attorney who specializes in cases involving wrongful death can advise you on whether or not you have the right to seek these damages.

Who Can You Hold Liable for Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim Arising From a Car Accident?

Automobile collisions are frenetic events that frequently involve multiple people. While it is possible that some parties were present at the crash scene and were directly involved in the car accident, the involvement of other parties may not be immediately apparent in the aftermath of the collision.

Following a car crash, conducting an investigation, and carefully examining the evidence at your disposal can help determine who, if anyone, you have the right to sue for the wrongful death of a family member or other loved one. An attorney who specializes in cases of wrongful death will use the resources at their disposal to sort through the chaos caused by the accident and locate vital information that could lead to the identification of the party or parties responsible for the untimely death of a loved one who was involved in a vehicle collision.

Insurance Companies

At the time of a car accident, vehicle liability insurance is typically in force for the majority of drivers. An insurance claim can be filed on behalf of a victim’s family in the event that their loved one was killed in an accident that another party caused. The wrongful death claim may be filed with the insurance company of the party at fault for the accident, the insurance company of the victim, or any other insurance coverage that is relevant to the accident, depending on the laws of the state in which the accident takes place.

Other Parties

In spite of the fact that your attorney may initially try to resolve your case through an insurance claim, there is a good chance that the insurance payout will not be sufficient to cover the damages that result from the wrongful death of a loved one.

In the event that a family’s insurance coverage is insufficient to compensate them for the losses incurred as a result of the death of a loved one as a result of a car accident, that family has the option of seeking compensation from the party that was directly responsible for the harm that was caused to their loved one.

It can be difficult to determine who is at fault in a car accident, particularly when there are other drivers involved or when the person who was at fault was driving a commercial vehicle at the time of the fatal car accident. Your attorney will investigate every facet of the car accident as well as every possible party in order to zero in on those who are most likely to be at fault and hold them accountable.

Read More: When Should You Contact a Lawyer in Arizona After a Car Accident?

Does a Statute of Limitations Apply to Motor Vehicle Accident Wrongful Death Cases?

Yes, wrongful death cases trigger the statute of limitations in the state where the accident takes place. You are obligated to comply with the laws that place a time limit on when you can file a lawsuit against the parties responsible for the passing of a family member because you are a family that is considering taking legal action against those parties.

The amount of time that a family has to file a lawsuit in court against an insurance company or another party who may be liable for the death of a loved one is governed by a statute of limitations. It is always best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible after the death of a loved one after a car accident in order to avoid any potential issues with the statute of limitations.

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