The single hardest thing any parent can go through is when they lose a son or daughter in a car accident. The suddenness of the loss and the questions can drive a person to a nervous breakdown. How did it happen? Who were they with? Why were they with them? Why were they where there? Why wasn’t I with them? Who is at fault for their death?
Sometimes the answers are just as painful as the death itself, however, once these questions have been established, then you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit by going over the details with your lawyer.
With an experienced attorney’s help, investigating the circumstances surrounding the death of your child can be much easier both emotionally and bureaucratically. The attorney will gather tangible data we cover in this article in order to determine the amount of compensation.
When filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you are seeking just compensation from the individual that, through their negligent actions, caused the death of your son or daughter. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil trial where you are the “plaintiff” and those you seek compensation from are the “defendants.”
It is up to the plaintiff to determine fault or negligence by the defendant, which lead directly of indirectly to the death of your loved one. The task is difficult, but with the proper council, many families have received the justice they deserve.
From Whom Do I Seek Compensation?
There must be a source of compensation and the defendant must have money in order to pay whatever settlement or amount the court charges. There must also be a determination of negligence or breach of duty on the defendant’s part. Once that has been established, these individuals are supposed to be backed by insurance companies by law in order to compensate for damages, both to victims and their property, but also in the families in case of wrongful death. However, there are three main sources attorneys investigate:
Individuals – Generally, in the case of an automobile accident, there is a person driving, a police officer, a doctor, etc, that is specifically named in the lawsuit. These individuals are the alleged negligent parties that may have caused the death of your child. They are supposed to be covered by an insurance company by law. However, if they are not, they must take the compensation out of their own funds if they are indeed found negligent. This can be in the form of cash, leans on property, and garnishment of wages.
Government – Governments including municipalities, counties, or states have a responsibility to provide safety for their citizens. The police and response infrastructures have procedures and a code of conduct they must abide by also. Often if a child dies because of an infrastructure problem (pothole, sinkhole, blind corner, unmarked median, abandoned or dangerously parked city vehicles, etc) there has been a clear history of complaints and/or data linked to the problem prior to the death. If they have not taken reasonable measures to recognized hazardous roadways and intersections, then they should be held accountable for injuries and deaths that are caused by these hazards.
Insurance Companies – Believe it or not, but there are people who feel bad about suing an insurance company over the death of their loved one. But keep in mind that the company insures motorists by a risk-to-profitability scale. They have already taken into account the risk of the negligent driver by age, credit rating, driving history, and vehicle type. However, they will do anything to avoid paying out on claims, thus a campaign of through news and advertising over several decades just to make it so that families feel guilty for seeking compensation. They are also proactive on accidents involving death or serious injury and in fact, you may have gotten contacted by an insurance agent. Make sure you log that call and jot down whatever was said. Most of all, do not sign anything an insurance company asks you to sign without first having your legal representative review it.
Evidence of Wrongful Death
As stated above, there must be a determination of negligence, the actions of an individual or entity directly or indirectly caused the death of your son or daughter. The driver also has a duty to keep the passenger safe and follow the rules of the road. If they violate this duty called “breech of duty” then they may be liable for the death of the victim. To prove these things, evidence is required, and some of the evidence that is gathered is:
Arrests –Driving under the influence (DUI) is easily one of the largest and most senseless causes of vehicular death. If the other driver involved in the accident was arrested for DUI at the scene, regardless of who the police report cites as fault, you may be entitled to compensation.
Circumstances – If there was road construction, another traffic stop, another accident obstructing traffic, or any other alternate circumstances surrounding the accident, then there may be negligence on the side of outside sources. It is important to review all statements and details of the scene of the accident.
Citations – If other drivers were cited for infractions related to the accident then the accident may have been caused by another driver’s negligence. These minor infractions may establish negligence regardless of what it was for.
Medical Care – The trauma care in the Puget Sound area is some of the best in the country, but sometimes victims fall through the cracks. If your loved one died in the care of the emergency ward staff, you may want to review the circumstances with the help of legal council.
Police Report – As the spouse you may obtain the police report and speak to the officers that investigated the car accident scene in order to learn details that may have been omitted from the report. Omissions and sloppy reports often suspend justice.
Response – Many wrongful death cases have found that the accident victim’s death could have been prevented if the proper procedures had been followed by the police and medical response team. If you find these procedures or the care questionable then it is best to find a legal review of those procedures.
Signals – Many accidents could have been avoided if the intersection or road had proper signs, signals, and maintenance. The crash history of the section of road or intersection could also be important in a wrongful death lawsuit caused by a car accident.
Puget Sound Wrongful Death Attorney
When you have been stricken with the tragic circumstance of losing a loved one due to the negligence of another person in a car accident, then it is very important that you do not sign anything without a lawyer present. The lawyer is there to represent you and your interests in your time of need.
The law firm of Phillips Law Firm represents families of victims who have been wrongfully killed in Washington State. They are skilled attorneys in wrongful death lawsuits and personal injury lawsuitswith years of experience that they will use to assure the you get the compensation you deserve.
Call Phillips Law Firm today for a free consultation.