One of the unfortunate realities of driving is that sooner or later, you’re bound to get into an accident. Each year, there are more than 50,000 fatalities caused by vehicle accidents around the country. Many of these accidents are just that – accidents – but there are thousands that are caused by negligence, and could have been avoided with a little care or attention. Below we’ll look at car accident and wrongful deaths resulting from them, and some key information for those that are dealing with this terrible scenario. (Image credit: OpenSkyMedia/Flikr)
The first step when you believe you are faced with a wrongful death stemming from a car accident is to do some research into circumstances surrounding the accident itself. If possible, try to get copies of any statements or official reports that have been taken by police or other officials. These items can provide clues that help determine exactly what happened in the accident and how it occurred. Having an accident checklist in your car at all times is a great idea.
It’s important to remember that negligence is the key factor when it comes to determining if an accident fatality should be considered a wrongful death. By the nature of the name, most accidents are accidental and are the reason that auto insurance is mandatory in nearly every state; there are inherent risks that come along with driving and it is possible to suffer grievous bodily harm or death in even a low-speed car accident. Having said that, if you are concerned that the circumstances do involve negligence, you may be able to prove a wrongful death and take further action.
There are dozens of ways that someone can cause a wrongful death through negligence, including driving while intoxicated – this can be intoxication resulting from alcohol, as well as narcotic, prescription or store-bought drugs; aggressive driving, including unsafe driving, speeding, driving erratically; and distracted driving – many states now have laws that prevent drivers from using cell phones or texting while driving. Distraction can also come from eating, drinking, using the radio, adjusting controls, fishing in the glove box, children in the car, and more. While some of these circumstances will have solid proof backing them up – such as a breathalyzer test given after the accident – some will not, and will require investigation.
Negligence causing a wrongful death may not be the result of another driver, but of those who built or recently repair the automobile. Accidents can occur as a result of a defect in the brakes, tires, horn, lights, steering, accelerator or any number of other parts in the car. This type of defect will need evidence to back it up, such as proof from a licensed inspector or other person qualified to determine these types of failures.
Other miscellaneous forms of negligence include not having adequate signage or road protection, having unsecured items fall off of your automobile, or not correctly labeling construction sites or work crews. If you have a suspicion that the car accident was the result of negligence – it’s highly possible that it was. And if it was, you’ll need to ready yourself for a possible lawsuit, and you’ll need to contact a wrongful death attorney.
Wrongful death attorneys specialize in helping fight lawsuits for individuals who have suffered a wrongful death of a spouse, child or other family member in situations such as car accidents. They have seen similar circumstances throughout hundreds of cases, and are qualified to advise you on the best course of action. As soon as you’re confident that negligence was a factor in the car accident – contact a wrongful death attorney and sit down to discuss your case.
Dealing with a wrongful death is not something that any of us ever wants to have to deal with, and with luck most of us will never have to experience the suffering that comes along with it. If you do end up in this situation, with a bit of luck and some help from your wrongful death attorney, you will be able to come out on top and ensure that whoever caused the death pays the price.