This is part of our ongoing series on car accident claims.

Many of us will experience a car accident. If this happens, do we know where to go for help? Do we know our rights?

In the most tragic instances, car accidents can result in fatalities, but even the most minor car accident, a fender-bender, is terrifying. Such an event forces us to realize how powerful and dangerous cars can be and how fragile our health and our safety are when we are driving.

The last thought from our minds when a loved one is killed as a result of a car accident is the legal system, but if the accident was someone else’s fault, we need to know our legal rights. Following the death of a loved one due to a car accident, we may be able to recover many costs including medical bills, funeral expenses, and we can even recover the cost of pain and suffering.

Wrongful Death Claims

When someone is killed in a car accident, surviving family can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death lawsuits are similar to personal injury suits. They claim that a person’s death was due to someone else’s negligent, reckless, or intentional actions.

The plaintiff in a wrongful death case is generally entitled to two kinds of damages. Pecuniary damages cover financial costs such as lost wages and medical bills. Punitive damages punish a party’s bad behavior. Some states prohibit punitive damages in wrongful death claims, other states place caps on the amount of damages a plaintiff can recover, and some states allow the plaintiff to recover pain and suffering damages. States also enforce time limits on when a plaintiff can file a wrongful death claim.

Car Accident Claims

Every car accident is different, but proving that the person who died was not at fault for the accident is key in any situation. If a fatal car accident occurs, surviving family could have claims against other drivers, auto manufacturers, or other entities by gathering important information from the accident such as photos from the scene, eyewitness testimony, police reports, and other evidence.

In some cases, a driver’s insurance may cover a victim’s damages or even offer a settlement. If not, we may need to file a lawsuit to hold the party responsible and to obtain fair compensation.

Car accident lawsuits, especially wrongful death claims, can complicated affairs none of us wants to endure, but if a family member has died in a car accident, we should contact an experienced motor vehicle accident attorney as soon as possible. Many of them will happily review your claims for free.