Understanding Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawsuit and Settlement Options
If you lost a loved one in a wrongful death car accident, you may be eligible for compensation. Learn more here.
Author: Maha Amircani, Founder, Amircani Law, LLC
Maha represents clients in state and federal court litigation as well as administrative proceedings. Her practice specializes in the areas of personal injury, criminal defense, and real estate closings. Published on: July 20, 2021.
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Amircani Law is different than the high-volume, quick-to-settle firms. Many of these firms are afraid of the courtroom and will take the first offer from the insurance companies.
What Qualifies as a Wrongful Death Car Accident?
According to data provided by the NHTSA (National Highway Safety Administration), of more than 36,000 people that lost their lives on U.S. roads in 2019, around 10% were in distraction-affected crash fatalities. There are various causes of motor vehicle accidents and negligence of the other driver is certainly one of them.
If the at-fault driver’s criminal, intentional, or negligent actions caused an auto accident in which a person lost their life, that can be considered a wrongful death. In addition, if the at-fault driver drove while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, drove recklessly, made a negligent error, or engaged in distracted driving, he or she may be held responsible for causing a wrongful death car accident.
Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?
When an individual is injured in an auto accident, he or she can sue the negligent driver and may be able to get compensation for an injury they have suffered. However, if the injured individual dies due to sustained injuries, surviving family members can file a lawsuit. A family member that can file a wrongful death lawsuit can be the deceased’s children, parents, or spouse.
In case no one qualifies to bring the wrongful death lawsuit, then the personal representative of the estate can bring a claim to recover certain expenses.
Not all deaths can qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit, so it’s crucial to consult a knowledgeable auto accident attorney to establish negligence and maximize your potential settlement. The Amircani Law firm works quickly to preserve valuable evidence and get all the facts.
Getting a Wrongful Death Car Accident Settlement
When it comes to car accidents, the State of Georgia uses a modified comparative negligence rule. That means each party responsible for causing a wrongful death has to pay their percentage of fault. For example, if several cars were involved in a motor vehicle accident and caused a wrongful death, each of the at-fault drivers would be partly responsible.
Does Insurance Cover Wrongful Death?
In most cases, car insurance covers wrongful death, providing the policy includes death benefits. In addition, it has to be proven that a car accident was actually the cause of death. But, in case a car insurance policy doesn’t cover death benefits, a certain family member of an auto accident victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault driver, his or her insurance carrier as well as against the deceased insurance carrier.
Dealing with insurance companies after a wrongful death auto accident can be complicated since their goal is usually to negate claims and pay as little as possible. It’s not unheard of that the insurance company offers a quick settlement to the family members of the car accident victim that doesn’t cover the expenses they have suffered.
If you want to improve your chances of getting proper compensation, contact a local auto injury attorney who can advocate for you or offer a piece of legal advice. Facing the major car insurance companies in Georgia requires top-notch representation and that is exactly what Amircani Law has to offer.
What Is the Average Settlement for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The average settlement for a wrongful death claim in a car accident ranges from hundreds of thousands of dollars to several million. Bear in mind that the compensation you may be eligible to obtain depends on the circumstances of your car accident case.
However, the potential average settlement in a wrongful death case can go from $500,000 to over a million dollars. The only way to find out the most accurate estimate of how much your wrongful death claim might be worth is to reach out to qualified personal injury lawyers.
What Damages Can a Jury Impose in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Car Accident Case?
A wrongful death lawsuit ends up in the liable person paying financial compensation to the family members of the victim. In this type of lawsuit, the liable person can’t go to jail or receive any other type of punishment. On the other hand, if the person who is liable for your loved one’s death is criminally prosecuted, he or she may receive other types of punishments as well.
In awarding compensation, a jury is trying to consider the value of the deceased person’s life. So, in addition to lost wages and benefits that the deceased would have earned if he or she had lived, family members can also expect compensation for various other losses, including:
- Emotional grief of the surviving family members
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of care
A skilled lawyer can calculate the amount of money the deceased may have earned based on their education and income. A law firm can also hire an expert who can calculate how much money the deceased would have made for the rest of their life as well as estimate the value of services they would have performed, and present those figures to the jury.
It’s hard to put a number to the loss of care and companionship a decedent would have provided to their loved ones if he or she had lived. Once again, an experienced attorney at a local law firm can be of great assistance in this matter.
The family of the decedent can also bring an estate claim and try to recover money for certain expenses such as funeral expenses, medical expenses, and medical bills made when treating your loved one after the crash, and pain and suffering he or she may have suffered before death.
In addition, a jury may award punitive damages in connection with the estate claim in case the defendant was aware of the risk, but was indifferent or didn’t care. In Georgia, punitive damages may be capped at $250,000, unless the defendant, for example, was using drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash.
How Hard Is to Prove a Wrongful Death Auto Accident?
Some wrongful death cases can be proved easier than others. In order to recover compensation, the family member of the decedent has to prove that another driver’s negligence, recklessness, or intentional act caused their loved one’s death as well as that the death was the result of the accident.
In addition, in accident cases, it has to be proven that the liable party owed a duty of care which they breached by not respecting traffic laws. Due to that breach, a fatal traffic accident was caused.
Every wrongful death lawsuit is subject to the statute of limitations or a deadline before which a claim has to be filed. The statute of limitations for filing a claim for a wrongful death arising from car accidents may differ from state to state. In Georgia, a person usually has two years from the date of the loved one’s death to file a lawsuit. However, that time can be longer or shorter, depending on the circumstances of the car accident case.
What Happens After a Fatal Car Accident?
There are certain steps you should take after a car accident to make sure you are in the best possible position to receive the compensation you deserve. Although the whole experience is stressful, you have to make sure you do everything you are supposed to.
However, being involved in a car accident in which someone lost their life can be even more overwhelming. Dealing with wrongful death lawsuits requires having competent attorneys on your side who can help obtain a potential settlement.
If you don’t know where to turn to after your loved one’s death, attorney Maha Amircani is fearless when it comes to pursuing every measure possible to represent her clients’ interests best. She is not afraid of difficult wrongful death lawsuit cases and she will do everything in her power to obtain financial compensation for your family if you have a case. Contact her today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your wrongful death case.