Common Causes of Car Accidents
Drivers cause around 94% of car accidents. This can be due to distracted driving, which was listed as the accident’s cause in 10% of fatal car accidents, speeding, and driving under the influence. Other driver-related accidents include running red lights, improper lane changes, and other dangerous incidents on the road. Many accidents do happen at night when it’s more difficult to see while driving. In the remaining 6% of cases, car accidents were caused by equipment failure, poor road designs, or a failure to maintain the roads. Environmental factors can contribute to accidents, such as wet roads during the rain or poor lighting at night.
Liability for Fatal Car Accidents
Liability for a fatal car accident can be more difficult to determine than it appears. Accidents are not always the fault of a driver, and determining liability can make a difference in the outcome of the case. Possible options for liable parties, depending on the cause of the accident, include the following.
• The Other Driver – The other driver may be liable if they failed to follow traffic laws or caused the accident through negligence. This is most commonly the liable party, but not always.
• The Driver’s Employer – If the driver was working at the time of the accident, it’s possible their employer could be partially or fully liable for the accident. Common reasons for this include forcing the driver to drive when tired or failing to keep the vehicle in proper running condition.
• The Vehicle’s Manufacturer – Manufacturer’s defects can and do cause accidents. If this is the case, the manufacturer of the vehicle or the vehicle parts may be liable.
• The City – If the accident occurred due to poorly maintained roads, the city may be liable for the accident due to the disrepair.
Claiming Compensation After a Fatal Car Accident
If someone dies in a car accident, their next of kin may be able to claim compensation for the accident. The next of kin is the person’s closest living relative. If the next of kin is a child, an adult can sue for compensation on the child’s behalf. If the person is married, their spouse will be the next of kin. If they are not married, their children are considered the next of kin. It is possible for more than one person to be considered the next of kin, such as when someone is not married and does not have kids, but has two living parents. A lawyer can help family members determine who is considered the next of kin and, therefore, able to claim compensation for the fatal car accident.
What Money Can be Recovered in a Settlement?
After a car accident, it’s possible to obtain funds to cover any medical bills, property damage, lost wages, and more. With a fatal car accident, there are additional types of compensation that can be recovered. This includes the loss of future wages, the loss of companionship, any funeral and burial expenses, loss of pension, and more. It is possible for the next of kin to also receive punitive damages in certain situations. A lawyer can explain each of the types of compensation that can be obtained as well as how much it’s possible to get through a settlement.
Length of Time to File a Claim
There is a statute of limitations of two years to file a car accident claim in the majority of cases. It is possible this could be longer or shorter, depending on the situation. This is another reason it’s crucial to speak with a lawyer as soon as it’s possible. The lawyer can make sure the lawsuit is filed within the required amount of time, so the next of kin doesn’t have to worry about rushing to get it done or missing out on potential compensation for their loved one’s death. There is no limit on how long it can take for a case to settle, however, just for it to begin. Once a claim has been filed, it can take months or longer to obtain a settlement.
Dealing With the Insurance Company
Insurance companies will try to limit their liability and pay out the smallest amount possible. It is important for anyone dealing with the at-fault party’s insurance company to do so through their lawyer. This eliminates the potential for the person to say something that could cause the insurance company to deny the claim. It also allows the person to make sure they’re getting a large enough settlement. In most cases, the insurance company will try to minimize the amount they pay out. A lawyer can handle negotiations with the insurance company to get more money for the next of kin so everything from the accident is taken care of and there is a lot less to worry about.
When the Other Driver is Unknown
Hit and run accidents are all too common. If the other driver takes off after the accident, there may be concern about whether they can be found and will be held liable for the accident. It is far more difficult to recover after a hit-and-run accident, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. The police must be called as soon as a hit-and-run accident occurs. After the accident, the next of kin can work with their lawyer and the police to find the at-fault driver. There may be witnesses, security footage, or other evidence that can help determine the driver who caused the accident. Once they are found, it is possible to seek compensation for the accident.
Getting Help Handling a Car Accident
There’s enough to deal with after a loved one dies, dealing with a car accident case often gets put off. Unfortunately, this can mean it may no longer be possible to obtain compensation of the next of kin waits too long. While a lot is going on, working with a lawyer can be invaluable. A lawyer can handle all of the details of the car accident claim, so the next of kin and their family do not have to worry about this. They can focus on what’s more important after the accident and trust that their case is in good hands.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to a car accident, it’s possible you could obtain compensation to help cover their medical bills, funeral and burial arrangements, and a lot more. It is important to get help right away, though. Let a lawyer handle all of this while you grieve and say goodbye to your loved one. Our lawyers know how important it is for you to get the right help during this time, and we can handle your case so you have less to worry about. Call us today for a consultation and to learn more about how we can help you and your family during this time.
FAQs About Fatal Car Accidents
If you’ve lost a loved one after a car accident, you likely have a lot of questions. That’s understandable, and there is help available for you. Our team can help answer any questions you might have about your situation. Before your consultation, however, read below to learn a little more about what to expect.
Can I Recover Compensation for a Loved One’s Death in a Car Accident?
The next of kin can obtain compensation when they lose a loved one in a car accident. The next of kin is the closest living relative of the deceased, whether that’s a spouse, child, parent, or another relative. When someone is not sure whether they are considered the next of kin, talking to a lawyer can help. A lawyer will be able to determine who would be considered the next of kin and, as a result, who can seek compensation for the accident.
What Should I Do to Start Filing a Claim?
Hiring a lawyer should be the first step after losing a loved one in a car accident. The lawyer can help with contacting the insurance company, gathering evidence, negotiating a higher settlement, and a lot more. They’ll make sure everything is done right and on time to avoid running out of time due to the statute of limitations. All of this is done on the behalf of the next of kin, so there’s no need to handle it alone.
What Evidence Do I Need to File a Claim?
When filing a claim, it is a good idea to have as many bills for expenses as possible. Depending on the situation, this can include medical bills, funeral and burial costs, property repair costs, and more. There may also be other evidence obtainable, like witness statements, dashcam footage, surveillance camera footage, and more. If anything isn’t available at the time the claim is filed, the lawyer can help. They can gather further evidence to prove liability and determine the right amount of compensation for the accident.
Who is Liable for My Loved One’s Death?
Liability can vary depending on how the car accident occurred. It is likely the other driver involved was at fault. When this is not the case, liability may fall to the city, the vehicle manufacturer, the driver’s employer, or other parties. Since determining liability can be complicated, it is a good idea to work with a lawyer. They can help determine which parties are liable and what may be needed to prove liability.
How Much Compensation Can I Receive?
The amount of compensation will depend on the case itself. Each case is different, so the total amount of compensation can vary, sometimes significantly. Those who seek to recover after a fatal car accident will want to work with a lawyer instead of accepting the first settlement offer from the insurance company. The insurance company will often offer a low settlement at first, so working with a lawyer helps to ensure the compensation covers all accident-related expenses and other damages.
What Types of Compensation are Common With Fatal Car Accidents?
Typically, compensation will include medical costs and property damage. With a fatal car accident, compensation will often include funeral and burial expenses, as well. It’s also possible to receive compensation for the loss of companionship, loss of future earnings, and other expenses. Depending on the cause of the accident, it may be possible to receive punitive compensation from the at-fault party.
Can a Lawyer Help Me Obtain Compensation?
Yes. A lawyer will be able to help the next of kin receive compensation to cover expenses related to the accident and the death of their loved one. Working with a lawyer makes it easier for the next of kin to receive a settlement and to make sure it’s sufficient to cover all accident-related expenses.
Who Pays for a Lawyer for a Fatal Car Accident Case?
A car accident case is typically taken on a contingency basis. This means the lawyer isn’t paid until they win a settlement for their client. Once they do, the funds to pay for the lawyer come out of the settlement. The next of kin will not have to pay the legal fees upfront, as they will be covered by the liable party as part of the settlement received. There may be some expenses the next of kin will need to pay upfront, but these are usually minimal and can be recovered with the settlement.
How Long Does it Take to Obtain a Settlement?
The amount of time it takes to receive the settlement funds can vary. The case itself can take anywhere from a few months to a few years depending on how long it takes for negotiations and whether the case goes to trial. Though few cases end up in trial, if this does happen, it adds a significant amount of time to the case. Once the next of kin accepts a settlement offer or wins at trial, it can still take time to receive the funds. The amount of time this takes depends on who is paying the settlement and how long they take to process everything. By working with a lawyer, it may be possible to speed up the amount of time it takes to receive the funds.
Can I Get Compensation if the Driver is Unknown?
It is possible to obtain compensation after a hit and run if the at-fault driver can be found. While this doesn’t happen in every case, it is possible. If the driver is not found, the loved one’s insurance company should cover the accident-related expenses. They will likely do this soon after the accident, then sue the at-fault driver if they are found and determined to be liable for the accident.
Will My Loved One’s Insurance Company Cover Compensation if They Were At Fault?
This depends on the type and amount of insurance the person had when the accident occurred. It is possible they had full coverage and the insurance company will end up covering medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, and more. The next of kin should still speak with a lawyer if this is the case to make sure everything is covered and to prevent having to pay any expenses out of pocket.
If you’ve lost a loved one because of a car accident, now is the time to speak with a lawyer. They can answer any questions you may have in more detail and provide specifics relating to your case. They’ll also handle everything for you, so you can focus on your loss. Call us today to get the help you need through this difficult time.