Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim if My Loved One Dies in a Car Accident?

Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim if My Loved One Dies in a Car Accident?Driving, while often necessary to our day-to-day lives, is inherently dangerous. We take precautions such as driving lessons, seatbelts, and airbags, but if we are involved in a crash, there is no guarantee that we will survive it. Should a loved one of yours die in a car accident due to someone else’s negligence, then you are eligible for compensation for that loss through a wrongful death lawsuit. While nothing can fill the void left by the loss of your loved one, you can at least secure compensation for your hardship and tragedy to help find closure and justice.

There are several different types of car accidents more likely than others to cause fatalities, and while we cannot predict when and how these will occur, we should always be aware of the potential risks when we go out on the road.

What are deadliest types of car accidents?

In 2019, The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported 33,244 deaths from car accidents. Such fatalities are not uncommon, and perhaps we do not think about deadly car accidents until they happen to someone close to us. With this in mind, it is critical to know what car accidents we should be on the lookout for so that extra attention and caution can be used when we find ourselves in those circumstances. DriveSafe Online points out some of the worst types of accidents in which one can be involved.

  • Distracted driving: This is one of the most common sources of fatal accidents. Every year in the United States, at least eight people die every day from accidents caused by distracted driving. The CDC reports driver distraction causes 3,000 fatalities and over 36,000 injuries per year. Drivers can be distracted by many things, including phones, children, passengers, food and drink, hats or sunglasses blocking their view, or any number of other sources of distraction.
  • T-bone accidents: These accidents occur when one car crashes into the side of another. Most T-bone accidents happen when a car turns in front of oncoming traffic, but can also occur when a driver changes lanes on the highway to try and pass slower vehicles in front of them. The more severe injuries that often happen from this type of accident include “spinal cord injury and broken bones that disrupt blood flow in organs like lungs, kidneys, intestines, and spleen.”
  • Multi-vehicle pileups: While most accidents usually only involve one or two vehicles, a multicar accident can have multiple vehicles, meaning potentially more fatalities. The two most common situations that lead to a multicar pileup include peak hour crashes and poor weather conditions. During peak hours, drivers are trying to get home and can become restless. This often leads to vehicles bumping into each other to try and get ahead of other cars while leaving those behind them stuck where they are. Poor weather conditions often hinder drivers’ ability to see the road and the cars in front of them clearly. As a result, the injuries sustained from these sorts of accidents tend to be more severe. This is because while cars that are stuck in traffic are often slow moving, cars driving in inclement weather are traveling often at a moderate speed, so being hit by one such vehicle leads to more fatal results.
  • Vehicle rollover: This is a type of car accident that does not necessarily have to involve more than one vehicle. These usually occur when the driver loses control of their vehicle. “In a vehicle rollover car accident, a vehicle overturns while driving too fast on the road and loses stability around tight corners.” Depending on the situation, the vehicle may roll over more than one time. Victims of these crashes are more likely to sustain head and neck trauma from these accidents, more so than those who are hit from the side by another vehicle.
  • Rear-end accidents: These happen when the front of one car strikes the rear end of another. Rear-end crashes are one of the more common accidents, and the severity of injuries depends on how fast the car was going before it hit the other vehicle. Injuries such as whiplash and spinal cord damage can still occur from the impact.
  • Head-on accidents: This is one of, if not the, most dangerous types of auto accidents. These occur when two cars strike each other head on. Most commonly, the cause of many high-impact collisions include running red lights, speeding, swerving to avoid an object, and misjudging how close you are to another vehicle. “This can also lead to severe injuries such as broken necks, spinal cord damage, trauma to major organs like the heart, or brain stem injury. Other severe injuries include limb amputations and paralysis from being crushed by debris in the collision.”

What is a wrongful death claim?

If you have lost a loved one to a car accident, then you may be able to file a wrongful death claim against the other driver if the death was due to their negligence. In order to file a wrongful death claim, you have to prove three things: Duty of Care, Breach of Duty, and Causation.

  • Duty of care is the duty owed to the victim by the offender. The driver whose negligence caused the death of your loved one owed a duty to everyone else on the road to drive safely and obey the laws of the road.
  • Once you have proven that a driver owed your loved one a duty of care, you must then prove how that duty was breached or broken by his or her negligent actions.
  • And finally, you also have to prove causation. This means that you have to prove that it was due to that person’s negligence or inaction that your loved one died, and that their death was not brought on by something else or something unrelated.  “As the plaintiff, you and your attorney must be able to prove all three of the above elements to recover compensation.”

When a loved one dies due to someone else’s negligence or intentional actions, there is nothing we can do to truly fill the emptiness that that person’s loss can leave on our lives. However, with a wrongful death claim, you can at least fight for your right to financial compensation to help deal with the pain and suffering of their loss. You should not have to suffer any more than you already are, so let the wrongful death attorneys at KBG Injury Law help you to get the compensation you deserve. Call us at 717-848-3838 to find out how we can help you and your family. We have offices in York, Lancaster, Hanover, Harrisburg, and Gettysburg, PA. Feel free to use our contact page to schedule an appointment.