What to Do if Your Loved One is Killed in A Car Accident
It’s a nightmare scenario: you’ve just received a call that you partner or child has been killed in a car accident. According to the Association for Safe International Road Travel, more than 37,000 people die in car accidents in the United States every year. You will understandably be feeling overwhelmed with grief and shock after receiving this call so it’s important to know what to do before it happens.
What to do if your loved one is killed in a car accident
After receiving the news here is what you should do:
- Get down to the scene of the accident.
- Call the police if they aren’t already there or on their way.
- Take pictures of the scene including skid marks, property damage and both vehicles from multiple angles.
- Speak to any witnesses and take notes. Preferably, allow the police to speak to the at-fault driver.
- Contact a personal injury lawyer.
- Consider filing a wrongful death claim against the person responsible for the accident with the help of a wrongful death attorney. The wrongful death attorney will be well informed about wrongful death claims in your state. Read our post about who can file a wrongful death claim in Washington State: https://www.tariolaw.com/who-can-file-a-wrongful-death-lawsuit-in-washington-state/
Is there always an at-fault driver in a fatal car crash?
Many fatal car crashes are caused by negligent drivers. For example, a drunk, distracted or speeding driver causes an accident because of their poor choices and subsequent actions or inaction. However, in some cases, extenuating circumstances mean that the accident and death were unpreventable. There may be a personal liability exemption in the case of a driver hitting someone who is standing in the middle of the freeway in the dark because it is not reasonable to expect that a person would be standing in the middle of the freeway. There are other circumstances and factors that can lead to exemptions including local traffic laws. Seek the advice of a local wrongful death attorney.
Note that in many of these types of accidents, criminal charges such as vehicular manslaughter may be brought against the at-fault driver. A wrongful death lawyer deals with a civil suit, which is completely separate from any criminal proceedings.
Types of fatal car accidents
A sudden death car accident: when a driver or passenger is in a vehicle that is hit – typically at high speeds or by a much larger vehicle – and dies suddenly.
Eventual death car accident: when a driver or passenger is in a vehicle that is hit dies sometime after the crash. Several factors can lead to the eventual death of car crash victims but usually it’s that the injuries are so severe that the person cannot be saved.
Wrongful death claim
The family of a person killed in a car accident may be able to file a wrongful death claim with the help of a wrongful death attorney. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil suit with the purpose of seeing monetary compensation for funeral costs, medical expenses, lost future wages, lost inheritance and other damages. A wrongful death lawyer can discuss your family’s legal rights and advise whether you have the evidence and factors that will make a legitimate claim of compensation. The attorney will interview witnesses and gather medical records and pictures of the scene, etc. to help make the case.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you have lost a loved one because of the negligence of another driver, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the justice and fair compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring, tireless and experienced wrongful death attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County and surrounding areas since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!