Car Accidents Often Lead to a Wrongful Death Case
Car accidents in Pennsylvania often result in significant if not fatal injuries. No question losing a loved one in a car crash is devastating. But, in addition to the grief that follows the death of a loved one, there is also the tremendous financial strain. Meeting immediate expenses such as medical and funeral costs in addition to dealing with the loss of income earned by your loved one is a big thing. In This article, we will outline the benefits of filing a wrongful death case and how an experienced attorney can ease the burden of stressful legal paperwork.
Often, because car accidents are caused by negligence or wrongdoing on the part of others, they lead to wrongful death claims. A wrongful death claim stems from an incident where a life was lost because of negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing on someone other than the decedent.
Negligence in Car Accidents
It is a well-established fact that most car accidents are caused by driver error or negligence. Here are some of the most common types of car accidents that could result in fatalities and could potentially lead to wrongful death lawsuits:
Driving Under the Influence
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 150 fatal auto accidents occurred in 2016 due to drunk drivers. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could severely impair a motorist’s skill and judgment on the road. This could lead to devastating crashes, which often result in deaths. When a drunk or drugged driver causes a fatal crash, in addition to facing criminal charges, they could also face a wrongful death lawsuit, which seeks compensation for the damages and losses caused.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2016 alone, 3,450 lives were lost to distracted driving. They are driving while distracted isn’t just limited to using cell phones. Any distracting activity such as eating, drinking, grooming, fiddling with the GPS, etc., can cause serious accidents. Any action, which causes the driver to look away from the road or take their attention away from driving, could prove devastating.
Violating Rules of the Road
Pennsylvania laws require drivers to use care and caution while operating a vehicle. This means they must follow the road rules such as obeying speed limits, driving at a safe speed, yielding the right of way to cars and pedestrians, making safe turns and lane changes, stopping at red lights and stop signs, etc. Unfortunately, when motorists violate these rules and drive dangerously and recklessly, they often end up causing fatal car accidents.
If You Have Been Injured
These are just a few examples of negligence or wrongdoing in car accidents. Suppose you have lost a loved one in a Pennsylvania car accident. In that case, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost future income, funeral and burial costs, and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer will advise families that have lost loved ones and help them recover maximum compensation for their tremendous losses.
Seeking Compensation with a Wrongful Death Case
Wrongful death lawsuits can be highly emotionally draining for a family that has just experienced losing a loved one. But, as Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers, we know that money is not the primary motivation for filing a wrongful death lawsuit for many families.
Auto accidents and other negligent acts, which lead to tragic deaths, do not get criminally prosecuted. So, in these cases, the civil justice system is often the only way for families that have lost loved ones to get financially compensated for their terrible losses and get some semblance of justice for their loved ones.
While many of us can immediately identify with the emotional loss after the death of a family member, it is difficult to visualize the financial blows such a loss can deal with families. In the aftermath of an untimely death, families are looking right away at the loss of income contributed by the decedent. In addition, they are looking at several expenses linked to the incident. For example, if the victim was in the hospital or undergoing treatment or surgery after the incident, the family may be looking at medical bills.
Cost of a Funeral
One of the most significant expenses after a death is funeral costs. Like all other expenses, funeral costs have risen with inflation. The average price of a traditional funeral could range between $7,000 and $10,000. This includes services at the funeral home, burial (in a cemetery), and installation of a headstone.
Funeral prices may vary considerably from the funeral home to the funeral home, depending on where you live. But, in addition to the services and burial, there are other costs, including but not limited to funeral director fees, price of a casket, embalming, cost of a gravesite, and headstone. A cremation and service could add up to close to $5,000.
Seeking Damages for Funeral Costs
When it comes to wrongful death cases, it is common to seek compensation to cover the cost of funeral expenses. Generally speaking, two types of damages are sought in wrongful death cases. First, compensatory damages are intended to cover the material, quantifiable losses sustained by the decedent’s family. This often includes funeral and burial costs.
Second, on the other hand, punitive damages are intended to punish an at-fault party for their negligence or wrongful action. So, when it comes to covering funeral expenses, those will be calculated as part of the compensatory damages in a wrongful death case. The total amount sought will depend on the type of funeral.
It would be best to preserve any receipts, bills, invoices, and other documents and records associated with the funeral. This will be necessary should you choose to pursue a wrongful death claim. In addition to funeral expenses, compensatory damages could also cover medical expenses (before the decedent’s death), loss of current and future income, property damage, and the cost of therapy and grief counseling.
Our Pennsylvania wrongful death lawyers understand how the loss of a loved one can be highly devastating at so many levels. Our lawyers are here to help you get justice and fair compensation to focus on grieving and healing. Call us right now to find out how we can help you.
Why Hire an Attorney to Handle Your Wrongful Death Case?
An experienced attorney will take the burden of navigating the complicated legal system off of the grieving family. Having the right legal team on your side during this difficult time will make all the difference.
Wrongful death actions are complex. The financial consequences can be steep once you take medical, insurance, and other legal issues into mind. Doing this on your own can be very costly, and those costs can be confusing!
However, if we help you, you don’t pay anything until your case is won. And, you may clear millions as a result. So, it seems like a win-win, right?
Peace of Mind
In times of crisis, we can struggle to reason. Even simple decisions can feel overwhelming or impossible. Moreover, thinking about legal issues can feel incredibly personal. A wrongful death law firm provides an objective voice of reason. Because they are not intimately involved with your family, the task at hand is clear and defined.
Attorneys handle the necessary tasks, paperwork, and meetings. Wrongful death, after all, is their expertise. So you can feel assured knowing you have qualified professionals handling all the necessary legal matters.
Present a Lawsuit
Losing a loved one due to negligence is already devastating, but it often feels even more painful when the other party does not receive appropriate consequences.
A wrongful death attorney handles this. The suitable case gets built, presented, and brought to trial. As a result, there can be a sense of justice, and you receive increased chances for legal closure.
While the grief process of death has its complex and undefined timeline, legal matters often do not.
In wrongful death cases, specific deadlines and statutes need to be met. In addition, the family must process paperwork. Formulating and proceeding with a lawsuit takes time.
Doing this on your own may be incredibly tedious and challenging, especially if you have a limited understanding of the laws regarding these matters.
Your attorney stays on top of the schedule, knows when and how particular deadlines must be met, and keep you updated on what they are doing and what you need to be doing.
In a time of tremendous crisis, worrying about the time should be the very last thing on your mind.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Wrongful Death Case
In so many ways, a successful wrongful death attorney makes this complicated process a bit easier for you and your loved ones.