October 12, 2023

How Do Car Accident Attorneys Assist in Wrongful Death Cases?

No amount of money can adequately compensate you for losing a loved one. However, when someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior leads to death, surviving family members can file a lawsuit to recover expenses and other damages.

At The Foster Firm LLC, our compassionate legal team represents individuals and families who have lost someone due to another party’s negligence. 

Establishing a Wrongful Death Claim 

The first step in a wrongful death case is determining whether the elements of a wrongful death claim have been met. Wrongful death is a form of negligence, and civil courts require that the party seeking financial compensation establish the existence of the elements of a wrongful death claim. 

The elements for proving wrongful death liability are as follows: 

  • The party owed a duty of care to the victim. In a car accident case, this is relatively straightforward to prove because all drivers generally owe a duty of care to others on the road. 
  • The party breached the duty of care. In a car accident, an attorney could attempt to prove this by demonstrating speeding, drunk driving, texting while driving, or other careless behavior. 
  • The negligence caused the accident or injury. This element requires linking the so-called negligent party’s actions to the incident in question. 
  • The victim died as a result of the incident. Upon the victim’s death, it can be established that the negligent party is caused the death by reviewing a medical examiner’s report or soliciting expert testimony. 

Identifying the Negligent Party 

People are often surprised that multiple parties could be responsible in a wrongful death claim. In a car accident case, for example, one might assume that the driver behind the wheel of the vehicle that “caused” the crash is responsible. However, there could be additional or alternate people or entities that could be held responsible. 

In the car accident example, the other parties that could potentially be held liable include: 

  • A passenger in the vehicle
  • Another driver who contributed to the incident
  • Vehicle or parts manufacturers (if the accident was caused by a defective part)
  • Repair or service shops
  • Local, state, or federal governments if roadways were negligently maintained or there was another issue under the control of government that was a contributing factor
  • Other third parties (for example, if someone threw a rock at a vehicle, and it caused a crash) 

Because wrongful death claims have the potential to be valued at six or seven figures, determining all potential parties who could be financially liable is an important step.

While car accident cases are a frequently cited example of wrongful death cases, a car accident attorney with experience in other forms of personal injury can handle a variety of claims, including a wrongful death based on medical malpractice. 

Determining Damages 

Damages refer to the compensation that the negligent party is required to pay as a result of a wrongful death. Every situation is different, though the following types of compensation may be available: 

  • Medical expenses before the death occurred
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of income and financial support from the deceased
  • Compensation for loss of guidance and companionship
  • Pain and suffering a loved one experienced before passing
  • Emotional anguish of surviving family members 

Contact an Experienced Georgia Wrongful Death Attorney 

It can be painful to pursue legal avenues in the immediate aftermath of a wrongful death. Family members need to be aware, however, that there is a statute of limitations in most wrongful death cases. 

To discuss next steps, contact The Foster Firm LLC at 866.863.6407 for a complimentary consultation.