Fatal Car Accidents
After a loved one dies in a car accident, you are likely to spend a long period grieving. However, there are also practical considerations after a family member's death, such as paying for rent or a mortgage and taking on greater responsibilities to try to make up for the loss. If your loved one died in a fatal car accident caused by someone else, Sacramento car accident lawyer Travis G. Black may be able to help you bring a lawsuit for compensation. He is a former insurance fraud specialist who understands these types of cases and how insurers think, as well as a former law enforcement officer.Establishing Liability After a Fatal Car Accident
After a fatal car accident, you may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court if the death was a result of someone else's negligence or wrongful conduct. Negligence is generally proven by showing the defendant's duty of care, a breach of duty, causation, and actual damages. A breach of duty may occur in a wide variety of ways. A driver who runs a red light, texts while driving, or engages in aggressive driving behaviors likely has breached the duty to use reasonable care while driving.
When a driver fails to follow the Vehicle Code, there may be negligence per se. This is negligence as a matter of law, which applies when a driver fails to follow a safety law, the failure is the cause of harm to a victim, the victim is in the class of people whom the law is designed to protect, and the harm is the type that is intended to be prevented by the law. In cases in which a court applies negligence per se, the focus is likely to be damages because liability is already established.
Either your loved one's estate or their survivors may file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under CCP section 337.60, only certain family members are considered survivors who are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These are a spouse, domestic partner, or child, or anyone who is entitled to the victim’s property through the law of intestacy.
Your civil lawsuit will be distinct from any criminal charges that may be brought, but it is possible that the criminal case could affect the civil case. You have only two years from the date of your loved one’s death to bring your claim, so it is important to contact an attorney as soon as possible. If you do not bring a lawsuit within that period, you may lose your right to recover compensation.
Damages that you may be able to recover as a survivor include the loss of love, guidance, and support, as well as the value of household services that were accomplished by the victim while alive and the loss of financial support. The estate typically recovers medical expenses, funeral expenses, and lost income. However, if you were the person to pay for medical expenses or funeral expenses, you may recover compensation for them.Enlist a Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento or Beyond
Attorney Travis G. Black is a knowledgeable and compassionate advocate for families of people killed in fatal car accidents. Having previously worked in the insurance industry, he uses his insights to help families. You should consult our Sacramento car accident attorneys about the possibility of a wrongful death lawsuit if you have lost your loved one to a careless driver. From our Folsom office, we offer perceptive legal counsel in personal injury claims. Contact us online or call Travis G. Black & Associates at 916-962-2896 for a free consultation with an injury attorney.