Losing a loved one in an auto accident is a terrible experience, made worse if the accident should never have happened. Wrongful death claims, when prepared correctly, can help to bring a measure of closure to those who have lost a relative as a result of someone else’s negligence.
They can also help to compensate the bereaved for income that may now be lost as a result of the death of a breadwinner. It is always advisable to engage the services of an experienced wrongful death attorney to help prepare a claim and negotiate with the at-fault party’s insurer.
What Exactly is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a special type of personal injury claim designed to compensate the surviving dependents of someone who has been ‘wrongfully’ killed. By ‘wrongfully’ killed, it means that the death was not the fault of the deceased but due to the negligent behavior of someone else.
For example, if the accident happened at an intersection controlled by lights, a wrongful death may result from a driver being hit by another driver who ran a red light and struck them on the side. If the victim had actually survived, then it would be possible for him or her to pursue compensation through the civil court against the at-fault driver.
This is impossible if the victim dies, but the suffering does not necessarily end with the death of the victim. The death will also affect his or her immediate family, emotionally, psychologically and financially. A wrongful death claim allows the immediate dependent family members to be compensated for their loss.
Preparation Needed For a Wrongful Death Auto accident Claim
Like any other sort of personal injury claim, compensation depends on thorough preparation. No insurer will make payment without proof of who was responsible for the accident, i.e. who caused it and that the death was the result of their client’s negligence. \
Obtaining this proof can be more difficult than if the victim survived the accident, unless someone who was a family member survived the crash as well. Witness statements, a crash investigation report, the police report and any other evidence obtained at the scene of the crash will be vital to prove who was at fault and whether negligence was involved.
The claim itself will be divided into payments demanded for ‘economic damages’ and non-economic damages.’ There must be sufficient documentation demonstrating how the payment demanded was calculated.
For example, funeral expenses and any medical treatment if the crash victim died after being taken from the crash scene should be supported by receipts and invoices. A payment to compensate for lost income of a breadwinner can be supported by evidence of how much the deceased earned.
More difficult is quantifying compensation for lost companionship and affection, as well as punitive damages if the degree of negligence was particularly significant. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help to put a figure on these more subjective components based on past cases.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer for Help with a Wrongful Death Auto Accident Claim
Many relatives who have lost a loved one in an auto accident are often too stressed and emotionally wrought to think clearly about compensation. It is best left to an experienced attorney who has dealt with auto accident claims many times before.
A successful claim can make a big difference to a family who has lost someone with significant financial responsibility and it all comes down to evidence and good preparation. Fill out the Free Case Evaluation to be connected with a lawyer who can help with a successful claim.