In December 2020, there were 1.28 crashes for every 100 million vehicle miles, and the death of a driver or passenger is always the most terrible outcome of a car crash. This can occur for many reasons, but the most common is when a careless driver engages in risky behaviors.
While nothing can bring your loved one back, pursuing a wrongful death claim with the driver who caused the accident can help you feel some justice and provide financial compensation for your loss. Keep reading below to see how you can sue for wrongful death after a car accident.
What Exactly Is a Wrongful Death Action?
Wrongful death occurs due to the carelessness of another person, company, or organization. You can claim damages from these cases through a wrongful death claim, which you bring to a civil court. Therefore, depending on the circumstances, the party at fault may be subject to civil and criminal liability.
Who Can File a Claim for Wrongful Death?
In the event of a fatal car accident, only specific relatives are eligible to file a claim for damages. Some of them are:
- Spouse of the deceased;
- Parents of the victims;
- The victim’s grandchildren, if their child has died.
However, anybody entitled to the victim’s property may file a wrongful death claim in the absence of the relatives mentioned above. Such family members may include the dead person’s parents or siblings.
What is Needed to File the Lawsuit?
Cases involving personal injury and wrongful death share many similarities. For instance, proof of negligence is required in both types of suits. The legal theory of negligence is grounded in the following facts:
- A case of failure exists if the individual in question fails to do as needed;
- Everyone owes a duty of care to avoid doing anything that could cause injury to another person;
- The negligent party is liable for any damages incurred due to the accident.
What Types of Damages Can Be Recovered?
If someone dies in an auto accident, their heirs are entitled to various damages that would support them in the same way as if the deceased were alive. The decedent’s heirs are eligible to file a claim for damages related to the following events:
- Financial loss due to the victim’s provision of domestic services;
- Expenses for funeral and burial;
- Expected future financial losses of the remaining family members;
- Loss of the deceased relative’s company, affection, relationships, and emotional support.
When Can You File a Suit?
There is a time limit when filing claims for wrongful death. The statute of limitations is set at two years from the date of death. This may differ from the date of the automobile accident if they survive and succumb to their injuries later despite the hospital’s best efforts.
After that time limit has passed, the surviving family members lose the opportunity to sue for damages in the case. One exception is the so-called discovery rule — when the family members learn of someone’s negligence and contribution to the death of their loved one a few years after it had happened.
Take Legal Action With Haffner Law
Losing a loved one is devastating, and hiring a good law firm can relieve some of the burden. Haffner Law will investigate the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit and pursue any compensation you and your family are entitled to.
Contact us today and have our legal team review your case at no cost.