Car accidents are traumatic events that can shake even the most stoic individual in the right circumstances. The violence of the impact, the shock of hitting a solid object, and the injuries that follow in many collisions, can greatly upend the accident victims’ lives and those of their families.
Serious injury can turn to tragedy when a car accident victim does not survive, and the loved ones are left to pick up the pieces as well as they can. Such a loss can be almost impossible to bear, and looking to hold someone accountable for this preventable death is a common sentiment. Assuming the other driver is equally or more at fault, the family may be able to recover monetary compensation under a wrongful death claim. Essentially, these lawsuits allow the family to stand in the place of the deceased in situations where the negligent or wrongful acts of another party caused the death. Wrongful death brings in additional elements that are not necessary for ordinary negligence cases, and a discussion of rules that govern how these cases proceed and the types of damages survivors may recover will follow below.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Action?
As noted, wrongful death suits serve to allow family members to recover for a death caused by the negligent actions of another, while also allowing additional types of damages not otherwise available. Thus, the deceased must have had a right to file a lawsuit based upon the underlying act that spurred the case. Because the goal of wrongful death suits is to account for the losses both to the victim and the family, the deceased’s estate is the only individual authorized to take this legal action. The named personal representative, or the one appointed by the court, would have this ability, along with other matters related to the estate....