Every year, tens of thousands of Americans are fatally injured in motor vehicle collisions. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 36,560 people lost their lives in car accidents in 2018. This means a person is killed in a car accident every 14 minutes. If a member of your family has been killed in a collision, you will want to understand your legal options for addressing the financial and emotional harm your family has suffered. By working with a personal injury attorney, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim to recover financial compensation.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim may be pursued against a person or party whose negligent or intentional actions caused the death of another party. These claims will typically be filed by a representative of the deceased’s estate, and a victim’s survivors, such as a spouse, minor children of deceased parents, or the parents of a deceased minor, may also be able to recover compensation for their losses. It is important to note that not every family member may have the right to pursue a claim, so family members should immediately seek legal advice to determine whether they have a right to pursue a claim for damages.
The estate of the victim and their survivors may be able to recover compensation for multiple different types of damages. These include the medical care the victim received before passing away, the pain and suffering they experienced, and costs related to their funeral or burial. Family members may also seek compensation for loss of future income the deceased would have earned, loss of companionship, loss of services the victim would have provided to the family, and grief, sorrow, and mental anguish.
Negligence in a Fatal Car Accident
To pursue a wrongful death claim, it will typically be necessary to show that negligence was the cause of the fatal collision. Negligence can come in a variety of forms, including distracted driving, speeding or reckless driving, or driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Your attorney can assist you in gathering evidence to demonstrate negligence, including security camera footage, witness testimonies, and police reports.
Time Limits for Making a Claim
It is important to note that the normal time limits to pursue wrongful death claims is different than time limits for personal injury claims. While the deadline for a personal injury claim for an adult is three years, and for a minor, their 20th birthday, the time limit for a wrongful death claim is two years. If a lawsuit is not filed, or the case is not settled, within two years, under most circumstances, the family member or members will forever lose their rights to pursue the claim.
Contact an Appleton, WI Wrongful Death Attorney
At Herrling Clark Law Firm, Ltd., we understand that no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one, but we are here to ensure your family has the resources you need to help you recover from the financial and emotional harm you have experienced. To schedule a free consultation with a compassionate Green Bay car accident lawyer, call us today at 920-739-7366.