In America, over 100 people die every day in automobile accidents. If your family has been impacted by a tragic automobile accident, having a team of legal experts on your side can help your family get the closure, justice, and compensation you need.
Here are some things to keep in mind when your auto accident attorney is filing a wrongful death lawsuit for your family.
The first step to filing a wrongful death lawsuit related to a fatal auto accident is assessing liability. In many cases, this liability can extend to multiple parties for a variety of reasons.
- Premises: where an auto accident occurred can be a critical liability issue. For instance, if the accident occurred in a federal or state park, these entities are responsible for making sure the roads are safe to drive. Thus, if a fallen tree causes another driver to swerve and hit your loved one, the park's authorities can be held liable for a significant portion of the accident. Regardless of where the crash occurred, your auto accident attorney is likely to go to great lengths to ensure that the property owners or authorities charged with maintaining the highway, road, or street are held accountable for any negligence that contributed to the accident.
- Products: defective safety equipment can be a contributing factor in many fatal auto accidents. For instance, if your loved one was operating a personally owned vehicle when the accident occurred, your attorney can hold the vehicle's manufacturer liable if an airbag, seat belt, or other safety feature did not function properly. It can be critical to provide your auto accident attorney with all the documentation you produce to demonstrate that the vehicle your loved one was operating was maintained to manufacturers' recommendations. This same legal tactic can be used when tires blow out, vehicles catch on fire, or a trail hitch fails.
- Entrustment: if your loved one was minor at the time of the accident, you might have been entrusting their safety to someone else. This is particularly true when the accident involves a school, daycare provider, or babysitter. If your attorney can demonstrate that the individual or entity you entrusted to transport and/or care for your child did not exercise a reasonable degree of safety, they can be held completely or partially liable for the accident. This can be proven in a number of ways: a failure to maintain safety equipment, a lack of training, shoddy supervision, etc.
It's important to remember that liability can be assessed by percentage, allowing your attorney to file several wrongful death suits for a single fatal auto accident.
Once your auto accident attorney assesses liability, they will attempt to show how the accident happened and how it could have been prevented. Ultimately, they will hope that the burden of this proof will compel the entities, individuals, and/or insurance companies liable for the accident are better off settling before the case goes to court.
- Gross negligence: if the auto accident occurred because someone woefully ignored basic safety considerations, they may have committed an act of gross negligence. This is often the case in drunk driving and excessive speeding accidents. Because cases of gross negligence are often glaring and also involve criminal indictments, your auto accident attorney will often be able to settle these cases long before they ever see a judge or jury.
- Negligence: simple negligence involves cases where safety precautions failed. For instance, if a properly maintained, but malfunctioning traffic light was a contributing factor in an auto accident, the city or state might be judged to be negligent for not spotting the problem in time. Speak with a law firm near you for wrongful death attorney services.