California Injury Attorneys
Since 1978
  1. Home
  2.  » 
  3. Wrongful Death
  4.  » When does a car accident become a wrongful death?

When does a car accident become a wrongful death?

On Behalf of | Jul 10, 2022 | Wrongful Death

When a driver’s negligence causes a fatal crash, the death may be more than just an accident.

According to the 2020 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration report, 45% of drivers who caused a fatal accident exhibited negligent behaviors. These drivers may be liable for wrongful death.

What is wrongful death?

The critical component of wrongful death is the negligent behavior of another person. In a wrongful death case, the plaintiff must prove three things:

  • the person had a responsibility to act in a manner that protected others
  • that person chose to ignore that duty and acted negligently
  • the responsible party’s negligence caused the death of another person

If drivers act negligently and cause a fatal crash, the accident may meet the qualifications of a wrongful death.

When is a driver acting negligently?

All drivers must follow the laws and act responsibly on the roads. However, not all drivers make safety a priority. Negligent drivers may:

  • speed
  • drive drunk
  • drive recklessly
  • text or use a cell phone
  • drive drowsy
  • run red lights

When these behaviors cause a fatal accident, the driver may be responsible for wrongful death.

Why do people file wrongful death lawsuits?

Wrongful death lawsuits provide avenues for close family members, such as spouses and children of the decedent, to receive compensation for both economic and non-economic damages. Some common awards include medical and funeral expenses, lost wages, loss of companionship and pain and suffering. Family members may file lawsuits against the at-fault drivers or their insurance companies, which can pay out the maximum of the policy’s limits.

When a driver’s negligence causes a fatal accident, family members of the decedent should know their options for collecting maximum compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit.