If a car accident results in the death of a person, car accident attorneys can provide much-needed legal assistance.
Car accident attorneys have experience in handling personal injury lawsuits that involve the death of an individual. Therefore, when someone dies as a result of a car accident, a car accident attorney can help deal with the legal rights you or someone in your family may have.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a civil cause of action that seeks to obtain damages from the person or entity responsible for causing the death of an individual. Wrongful death is not the same as murder or manslaughter — those are charges brought in criminal court and can result in time in prison or even the death penalty. Additionally, those criminal charges are more difficult to obtain because of the higher burden of proof.
For example, in a criminal case, the government must prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the defendant is guilty of the crime. In a civil case, the burden is much less, with a “preponderance of the evidence” evidentiary burden. This means that it’s “more likely than not” that the defendant is liable for the harm suffered by the plaintiff.
Who Is Responsible for Wrongful Death and How Are They Responsible?
Any person or organization can be legally responsible for the death of another if they wrongfully cause the death. What exactly constitutes “wrongful” is up to the courts and the applicable state law covering wrongful death lawsuits. The cause of the death can be through a variety of methods, but it’s usually through an intentional, reckless or negligent act. This can include negligently, recklessly or intentionally causing a car accident.
Usually, it’s a driver who is responsible for wrongful death. But if the driver was also an employee of a company and caused the accident while driving in the course of his or her work, it’s possible that the driver’s employer could also be legally liable for the wrongful act of its driver.
Can a Family Member Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Because the victim is gone, they are not capable of suing the responsible party. Instead, a legal representative will bring the wrongful death lawsuit. This legal representative is often a family member, such as a spouse, sibling or child of the person who has died. When a family member brings a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s usually with the help of an attorney.
How Can a Car Accident Attorney Help?
If the wrongful death is the result of a car accident, hiring an attorney who works with personal injury car accident cases is strongly recommended. While any licensed attorney can take on a car accident wrongful death case, most will only take cases in their chosen practice area. Additionally, it’s always recommended to hire a lawyer who has plenty of experience working on wrongful death cases.
A car accident attorney is a professional who understands the specific legal principles that apply to your case. He or she knows how to litigate your wrongful death lawsuit so you can achieve the most compensation for what happened. No attorney can bring back your loved one, but they can make the responsible party pay to the full extent of the law and provide compensation that can ease the financial difficulties that often result after the death of a family member.
Learn more about car accident attorneys by contacting the Wilbanks Law Firm, P.C. online.