There are few things in life that match the trauma of losing a loved one in a fatal car accident. It is sudden and jarring, and can leave emotional and financial scars that can last a lifetime.
Unfortunately, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that car accidents kill about 35,000 people every year in the United States. That’s about one death by car accident every 12 minutes.
The leading causes of these deaths are due to:
Drunk and reckless driving
Street and highway defects
Car manufacturing defects
Inexperienced and/or elderly drivers
In some cases, the driver’s themselves are to blame. But in other instances, blame can be laid on another driver. This creates a situation where a wrongful death took place and sets the stage for an attorney to pursue a wrongful death claim.
Laws vary from state to state, but in all instances, the family members of the victim have the right to seek damages for the loss of a loved one. Some states limit these damages while others are more generous in their amounts.
To prove a wrongful death, an attorney must prove that someone was at fault. That’s easy to do in cases where a drunk driver slammed into another, or in cases where criminal charges, such as vehicular manslaughter, involuntary manslaughter or even murder charges are filed. But in some cases, affixing blame can be challenging.
To help facilitate proof, an attorney will begin gathering as much evidence as possible, ranging from police reports to blood alcohol level reports if drinking is a suspected cause, to physically visiting a crash site and taking pictures, measuring skids marks, or looking at other pertinent physical evidence.
Once fault has been established, those bringing suit must prove they are related to the deceased and that the death of their loved one will result in monetary losses. This can be calculated by how much a person was earning at the time of their death, or what they had earned in the past.
Choulos, Choulos & Wyle proudly serve clients in San Francisco, Oakland and in cities throughout the Bay Area.