The consequences of a car accident can be dire, with potential outcomes that include property damage, severe injuries, and even death. Fortunately, personal injury laws allow people to take civil action against the at-fault parties in these accidents to claim compensation. Though, it is only possible for victims to recover compensation if they manage to survive the accident.
There is recourse, though. The next-of-kin of deceased car accident victims can make a claim for compensation from the at-fault drivers. Still, without adequate legal counsel, doing so may be more complicated than you would think.
To access the legal expertise you need to file a fatal car accident claim, contact an Acworth fatal car accident lawyer today.
Car Accident Deaths and Their Impact
Being in a car feels safe for most people. Yet, the unfortunate truth is that being in a moving vehicle is one of the most dangerous positions someone can be in. This is made clear by the fact that 42,915 people died in traffic accidents over the course of 2021. Worse yet, the number of car accident fatalities increased significantly from the previous year, with only 38,824 deaths occurring in 2020.
The worst part about car accident fatalities is that many of them are avoidable. A majority of these accidents happen because other drivers were negligent in their actions. For example, a large portion of car-related fatalities involves drunk drivers who irresponsibly chose to use the roads while they were under the influence of alcohol. Likewise, people who break traffic laws with no regard for the safety of others contribute to these fatality numbers significantly.
When these accidents kill people, the deceased are not the only victims. The families of these victims are also victimized, as they have lost a relationship that may have provided them with substantial benefits over the course of their lifetime. That’s why many families choose to file wrongful death lawsuits when their loved ones are killed by negligent drivers.
Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims can be filed whenever someone is killed by the negligent or wrongful behavior of another person or other entity. Through these claims, civil courts aim to provide next-of-kin with compensation equal to “the full value of the life of the deceased.” Through such claims, the plaintiffs must prove that the defendant was negligent, breached their duty of care, and caused the victim’s death.
Part of the claims process also involves proving what quantifiable damages were incurred by the deceased and their survivors. Few people know how to prove these elements, so it makes sense to hire a fatal car accident lawyer in Acworth to litigate your claim for you. If necessary, they should be equipped to take your case before a judge to ensure that your claim has a fair chance of success.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A fatal car accident that killed your family member may have left you wondering whether you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim related to the incident. Well, you could be, depending on your relation to the deceased. Only a few categories of family members are allowed to file a wrongful death suit in most states. The eligible groups include:
A spouse is often responsible for providing their partner with emotional, financial, and social support. When one member of the couple is killed due to the negligence of another driver, the surviving spouse might struggle to acquire the resources they need to maintain their standard of living. For this reason, surviving spouses are eligible to file a wrongful death suit.
Though, if you were divorced at the time of the accident, you will not be allowed to file. This is because wrongful death suits cannot be filed by former spouses.
Children need their parents. When this relationship is torn apart by a negligent driver, the children deserve compensation that will help them cope with the loss of their parent. Unfortunately, children who were adopted may not be able to recover compensation through a wrongful death suit.
If none of the other categories of family members have survived, the parents will be next in line for eligibility to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the decedent. While they may not be financially dependent on the deceased person, the loss of their child is a significant experience that will likely cause significant long-term damages. This warrants compensation in many cases.
The Estate’s Representative
If there are no surviving direct family members, the estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Whoever has been deemed the representative of the estate will be responsible for initiating the claims process. If the claim is successful, the money will be held in the estate and dispersed to the decedent’s next-of-kin.
Assessing the Full Value of the Deceased Person’s Life
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to recover compensation that is equivalent to the perceived value of the deceased person’s life. Because that life was cut short, the survivors deserve to have some form of financial compensation that will help them cope with their loss and potentially replace the lost income that would have been earned if the decedent lived.
The full value of the decedent’s life can be divided into two categories; economic and non-economic damages. The economic damages include tangible losses, such as medical bills that arose due to the accident, lost wages that could have been earned had the deceased survived, and property damage that occurred in the accident.
Non-economic damages are the opposite and instead include intangible losses that are not easily measured or tracked. For example, Acworth fatal car accident lawyers routinely assess the value of a deceased person’s relationships and the companionship they may have offered had they survived. If the deceased had young children, the fact that they will now grow up without one of their parents is a substantial loss that the family has suffered.
Call an Acworth Fatal Car Accident Attorney Today
Allowing a negligent driver to get away with killing your family member is the wrong thing to do for many reasons. Firstly, you may have lost the resources that you need to support your family. In addition, allowing them to get by without consequences will give them the confidence to continue driving recklessly. This could lead to another accident that claims more lives.
Take action now to ensure that justice is upheld. A fatal car accident attorney in Acworth will help you understand the claims process and assist you in the filing. Use the contact form on this page to get in touch with an attorney today.