Car accidents are an all too common occurrence. In New Mexico in 2016, there were 358 fatal car crashes resulting in 402 deaths, a significant increase from only 298 deaths in 2015. Numerous factors can lead to accidents, and as impaired and distracted driving increases, fatalities from car accidents will also rise.
When a person dies from a car accident there is generally someone that can be held liable. Factors leading to the crash may vary and be influenced by speed or driver impairment from drugs or alcohol. The driver's actions or inactions are what led to the crash and ultimately the death of the other person.
In cases where the police report from the accident places the blame of the other driver, assigning responsibility is simple. In more nuanced cases more forensic evidence may be required, such as traffic camera footage.
Establishing wrongful death
In order for a wrongful death claim to have merit, three components come into play. First, the death needs to be caused by the accident. This can happen when the fatality occurred at the scene of the accident or days later as a result of injuries sustained from the accident.
The claim also needs to prove the driver causing the accident was guilty of negligence. A driver can be negligent a number of ways and if their negligence caused the accident they can be held liable. Having credible evidence to substantiate your claim will aid the process.
Lastly, the victims need to be able to prove monetary loss as a result of the accident. This can manifest as medical expenses, loss of the deceased's future income and the unexpected costs of a funeral and burial service.
A wrongful death claim can provide monetary damages that surviving family members may badly need. If the victim was the sole breadwinner of the family they may be struggling with basic living expenses. Even purchasing a replacement vehicle if theirs was badly damaged can be a hurdle. Surviving family members battling their grief should not also have to worry about how they will provide for their basic needs as expenses from the accident mount.
In serious accidents that result in death, surviving family members want justice. While monetary compensation does not bring back loved ones, it can ease the financial burden of their passing.