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Wrongful Death Caused by a Car Accident

Most people have probably driven by a horrific accident scene at one point or another and wondered what the outcome would be for those involved. Though it is hard to imagine a similar tragedy happening to you or a loved one, a fatal accident could happen to anybody who uses the roadways. In fact, almost 39,000 people in the United States lost their lives due to car accidents in 2019, often at the hands of careless drivers. If you lost a loved one due to a wrongful death, the attorneys at Abels & Annes are ready to provide you with compassionate and experienced representation to help you get through these difficult times.

What is Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death happens when a person dies due to somebody else’s negligence or wrongdoing. The death must be the result of a wrongful act by another person to qualify as a wrongful death.

These wrongful acts could include:

  • Negligence, like careless driving or speeding
  • Intentional attack, like assault or battery
  • Vehicular manslaughter, like those caused by a drunk driver

Wrongful death is the basis for a specific type of personal injury lawsuit that is filed against the party who caused the death that is filed by the surviving family members. Wrongful death lawsuits can also be filed by the executor or administrator of the estate of the deceased.

What Causes Car Accidents?

Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of deadly car accidents in the US. Drivers who are replying to a text, reaching back to a passenger, checking Facebook, changing the radio, or picking up something from the floorboard are actions that can easily lead to deadly car accidents.

Speeding is another common cause of deadly motor vehicle accidents. Across the nation, well over 9,000 people were killed due to speeding in 2018. However, the risks haven’t seemed to slow down Arizona drivers. In 2019, over 14,000 criminal speeding citations were issued statewide. That means the drivers who received them were driving more than 20 miles over the posted speed limit or above 85 miles per hour.

At high speeds, drivers have a harder time adjusting to curves and reacting to unexpected obstacles on the road. They’re more likely to lose control of their vehicles.

Drunk driving, of course, is another common cause of preventable deaths in car accidents. Arizona prohibits driving with a blood alcohol concentration over .08 percent. Additionally, the state also requires truck drivers to be under .04 percent BAC4.

Despite these limits, there are still plenty of drivers who choose to get behind the wheel after one too many alcoholic beverages. Drunk drivers’ judgment is impaired and their reaction time is slowed which can easily lead to wrongful deaths.

The final common cause of wrongful death car accidents include defective car parts. Faulty parts, such as defective tires, brakes, and computer systems can cause motorists to lose control of their vehicles. It’s estimated that up to 30 million vehicles were affected by safety recalls in both 2017 and 2018. Likewise, improper or irregular vehicle maintenance can also negatively impact a vehicle’s performance.

Understanding Liability

Arizona requires drivers to exercise due care. In other words, they must take precautions to keep other drivers safe on the roads.

When drivers fail to act reasonably, for instance, driving above the speed limit or not stopping at a red light, they will more than likely be considered liable for any resulting accident. If the behavior of more than one driver contributes to an accident, degrees of fault can be split between them.

In some cases, none of the drivers involved in an accident are to blame. Manufacturers can face product liability claims if an accident happens because of faulty parts.

Whether it was another person or a business that led to a collision, the afflicted party must prove causation. In other words, it has to be proven that the accident wouldn’t have happened had the other party acted reasonably. Accident victims, or their survivors in the event of a wrongful death, can hire personal injury attorneys to strengthen their case and to help prove liability.

Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

Some accident victims die at the scene of the accident. Others pass away afterward due to injuries and complications. In either circumstance, surviving litigants can file a wrongful death lawsuit if the fatality happened because of another party’s negligence.

A personal injury lawyer can demonstrate that the survivors of the deceased suffered monetary damages as well as pain and suffering. Even if a court determines that a defendant is not guilty during a criminal trial, a civil trial can still be pursued for damages caused by the wrongful death.

Who can File a Car Accident Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Several people who had a role in the late person’s life are able to pursue a wrongful death claim caused by a car accident. These people are most commonly:

  • A surviving spouse
  • Parents
  • Children

Those who were most financially dependent are likely to be eligible for the most compensation. Damages can also be collected on behalf of an estate.

Any wrongful death compensation that is awarded to the estate of the deceased will be distributed according to his or her will. In the absence of a will, the assets of an estate typically go to the surviving spouse or are divided between the spouse and children.

Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

The experience of watching loved ones suffer fatal injuries and burying them before their time takes an emotional toll on even the toughest survivors. These circumstances can also financially strain a family. If you’ve lost someone due to a driver’s negligence, a skilled personal injury attorney can help you recover damages for medical expenses, burial costs, funeral expenses, as well as lost income and pain and suffering.

The lawyers of Abels & Annes are well-versed in personal injury cases of all kinds. We will not rest until you receive maximum compensation for your loved one’s car accident and untimely death. For a free consultation, contact us online or by phone at (855) 749-5299.

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