What Happens When Someone is Killed in a Car Accident?
Losing someone you love is always difficult, but coping with loss can be especially difficult if that loss was unexpected or traumatic. If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, you need to do your part to protect your rights and prepare for the future. Fatal car accidents can be extremely tricky, and if you or another family member was also involved in the crash, you might also be focused on recovering from those physical injuries as well. But, as complicated and stressful as this time can be, it’s extremely important to take stock of your situation and make a plan.
Each day, an estimated 90 people die in car crashes throughout the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In other words, more than 32,000 car accident fatalities occur each year in the U.S. These high numbers are out of control, and the parties responsible for these crashes need to be held accountable for the damage they’ve caused. Whether the crash was caused by drover intoxication, distracted or drowsy driving, mechanical failures, road hazards, or some other reason, you may be able to bring the liable party to justice after the loss of your loved one.
Dealing with grief isn’t easy, especially if you’re also trying to pay for your lost family member’s medical costs, plan a funeral, deal with outstanding bills, and handle insurance claims. This time can be stressful, which is why you need a plan.
If you lost a loved one in a fatal car accident, make sure you follow these 3 key steps:
1. Collect Evidence
After any crash, especially one that results in a major injury or fatality, you need to collect as much evidence as possible. Gather pictures of the crash along with all records of the injuries, medical procedures and doctor’s appointments pertaining to the incident. Keep your own copy of the police report and make sure you have the other driver’s information. If they were liable for your loved one’s death, you need as much information on them as possible.
2. Discuss Your Rights with a Lawyer, Not the Insurance Company
Although they might say otherwise, your insurance company is not looking out for your best interest. Even if your insurer is polite and kind, you must remember that they are ultimately out to protect their bottom line. Before you sign anything from your insurance company or admit any fault after an accident, make sure you discuss your rights with an attorney. If your loved one died because of someone else’s mistake or negligence, you may have a right to additional compensation. Your insurance company might undercut your potential rights, so make sure you know all of your options before you make a decision.
3. Familiarize Yourself With Your Legal Rights
If you lost a loved one in a car accident, such as a spouse, parent, child, or another immediate family member, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. Through a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical expenses, loss of future earnings, loss of companionship, pain, and suffering, funeral expenses, and more. Although compensation won’t take away the pain of your loss, it can help you deal with the situation at hand and may enable you to move forward in peace.
Contact BD&J to discuss your potential wrongful death case with our attorneys.