Car accidents are an unfortunate reality for thousands of people throughout the United States each year. Some accidents only result in cosmetic damage to the vehicles involved, but others cause devastating losses. Unfortunately, some car accidents are fatal, and the surviving family members of victims of such accidents are often left wondering how they can possibly recover from these incidents.
Reviewing the most recent car accident statistics can potentially help drivers better understand the risks they face when they drive. While this cannot prevent accidents from happening in all situations, it can help a driver reduce their risk of causing an accident and facing liability for the resulting damages. Additionally, if another driver is responsible for your recent accident, an experienced car accident attorney is an ideal resource to have on your side as you examine your options for recovery.
Motor vehicle crashes can happen for a number of causes. However, some of the most common causes of fatal crashes include:
When a car accident happens, North Carolina law dictates that the driver at fault is liable for all resulting damages. Therefore, the injured driver can file a claim against their auto insurance policy and pursue a personal injury claim if the insurance payout doesn’t fully cover their damages. However, if the accident results in a fatality, the victim’s family could file a wrongful death suit instead.
A personal injury case seeks compensation for a victim’s losses after they have suffered damage due to another party’s actions. A wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the family’s losses resulting from another party’s actions. While these two types of cases are very similar in some procedural respects, there are special rules pertaining to who may file a wrongful death claim and the damages available in these claims.
State law only allows the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file a wrongful death claim. However, in the event the deceased had no estate plan and/or did not name a personal representative, loved ones can petition the court to appoint a personal representative. The personal representative can seek compensation for the economic damage the family has suffered because of the death, such as the lost financial support provided by the deceased; they can also claim compensation for the pain and suffering the death has caused.
Ultimately, fatal car accidents can easily generate a host of complex legal issues for the family of the deceased. The at-fault driver also faces liability for the civil damages they caused and criminal prosecution, depending on how they caused the death in question.
A: The fatal accident rate in 2020 was about 15 deaths per 100,000 residents. Distracted driving, speeding, and moving violations are some of the most commonly cited causes of fatal accidents each year. If a driver causes a fatal accident through negligence, they can face a wrongful death claim from the victim’s family, and criminal charges are likely if they cause an accident through intentional misconduct.
A: When reviewing available accident data to determine the statistically most dangerous states for drivers, it’s important to consider both the number of fatal accidents in the state each year as well as the rate of fatalities for all reported accidents. Texas and California often top the list for the greatest number of fatal accidents, while South Carolina and Massachusetts have two of the highest fatality rates.
A: If you have recently lost a loved one in a fatal accident, you may have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the party responsible for the death. While similar to a personal injury claim in some ways, this type of case is far more complex and demands the attention of an experienced attorney. Seek legal counsel as soon as possible if you believe another party is responsible for a recent fatal car accident that took your relative’s life. Your attorney can help you determine whether you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim and, if so, guide you through the process.
A: Hiring legal counsel you can trust after an accident improves your chances of success with your recovery efforts and the chance of maximizing the compensation you obtain. If you are hesitant due to the anticipated cost of hiring an attorney, it is important to realize they can easily make up for the cost of hiring them with how much they can improve your total recovery.
Ultimately, car accidents happen for many reasons each year, sometimes with devastating results. If you or a loved one is struggling in the aftermath of an accident someone else caused, or if you recently lost a loved one due to the negligence or misconduct of another party, you need legal counsel you can trust to help you recover. Contact the attorneys at Law Office of Lyndon R. Helton, PLLC, today if you need to speak with a reliable attorney about your legal options.