Fatal Auto Accidents Lawyers
Fatal traffic accidents are on the rise again. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the number of fatal traffic deaths in 2015 was 35,092. This number is up 7.2% from 2014. Their research indicates that nearly one in three deaths is the result of speeding, alcohol, and distracted driving.
When a loved one dies in a fatal accident it is considered a wrongful death for the purposes of seeking compensation. A fatal accident profoundly affects the lives of loved ones. A death can affect a family’s financial situation especially when it is the death of the primary wage earner. The shock and grief that is experienced after the death of a loved on is often debilitating but when the cause of the accident is negligence a claim should be filed. Financial burdens are a consideration as well as preventing this type of accident from happening to another family.
Truck accidents are one type that pose a huge risk for fatalities. Due to the sheer size of tractor-trailers, the outcome is generally not good. When loaded these trucks can weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger car. When this weight is combined with the speed the truck is going and the amount of time needed to stop, the possibility of a deadly crash is much more likely.
Distracted driving is one of the most common causes of fatal accidents. Unfortunately cell phones are one cause of distraction that is extremely dangerous. The National Safety Council says that 21% of vehicle accidents are caused by talking on cell phones while 5% are caused by texting. Although many states have passed laws that do not allow texting on cell phones while driving, the laws do not cover making phone calls. Taking your eyes off the road for only a second or two can cause an accident that will change lives forever.
Impaired driving is another cause of many fatal accidents. Alcohol is responsible for almost a third of all traffic deaths in the US. It is estimated that 28 people die in fatal accidents involving alcohol in the US on a daily basis. This is equivalent to a death every fifty-three minutes. Drugs are responsible for approximately 16% of accidents involving vehicles. This includes legal as well as illegal drugs.
As seen by the accidents mentioned previously, it is easy to see that negligence is the main reason for many traffic fatalities. Compensation for the loss of a loved one is never easy. Money will never make up for this loss but there are several expenses that must be considered. Expenses such as medical, funeral and burial, the loss of future financial support from a primary wage earner, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship for a spouse are a few of the considerations.
The state of Pennsylvania has a statute of limitations law that requires a wrongful death claim must be filed within 2 years of the date of the accident. Although this is a difficult time for the family, hiring a lawyer experienced in wrongful death claims is essential. Pennsylvania also has a wrongful death statute that limits who can file a claim for their loss. It includes the spouse of the person who died, his or her children, and parents.
A fatal accident lawyer will examine all the aspects of the accident and decide if a wrongful death claim is warranted. There is also a claim called a survival action that can be filed separately or with the wrongful death. A survival action allows for claims that the deceased could have recovered had they lived such as lost wages and pain and suffering.
The attorney will examine all the accident evidence, determine who was at fault, talk to witnesses if applicable, calculate the amount of damages to seek, and file the claim. An attorney can help the family of the victim by filing a legal claim to recover emotional and financial losses for the family. Punitive damages may also be recovered. These damages are granted to punish the person responsible for the accident if it is proven that they acted recklessly.
Proving Responsibility for Fatal Accidents
When a wrongful death claim is filed in order to recover compensation, a lawyer will need to prove that the accused was negligent. As with most accidents there will be evidence that will prove who was responsible. Often the services of a forensic specialist are required to make certain of the actual cause of the accident. If they are needed, the lawyer will take care of finding and hiring one.
Accessing all of this evidence takes the expertise of a lawyer who has handled this type of case. This involves a lot of legwork and chasing down any and all leads so they are totally prepared when the case goes to court.
A lawyer who is experienced in wrongful death claims will treat the family with compassion while ensuring they receive the maximum amount of compensation for their loss. They will handle every aspect of the claim. This allows the families of the deceased to have one less thing to worry about while they are trying to cope with the loss and concentrate on healing. It is difficult to consider all of this while mourning the loss of a loved one but a fatal accidents lawyer can help.
Resource for fatality statistics:
resource for texting and phone calls while driving statistics:
resource for alcohol related fatal accidents: