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Fatal Auto Accidents: Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

By Sean Burke on March 17, 2018

Aftermath of a catastrophic auto accidentThe loss of a loved one can be a troubling time. The emotional anguish you experience is made worse if your loved one was killed in a senseless accident that was the fault of another party. In the case of fatal auto accidents, another person’s reckless actions have tragic consequences.

Our Orange County, CA lawyers have helped grieving families file wrongful death lawsuits against the people responsible for fatal crashes. Let’s take a moment to go over some of the causes of these collisions and how our team can help you.

Statistics on Fatal Auto Accidents

According to numbers from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were 37,461 fatalities from auto accidents in the year 2016. This was up 5.6 percent from fatality numbers in 2015. A slight majority of these fatalities (18,590) occurred in rural areas rather than urban areas.

On average, 102 people died each day in 2016 as a result of motor vehicle crashes.

Fatal Crashes Caused by Drunk Drivers

Drunk drivers are a major hazard to everyone on the road due to their poor decision-making skills and impaired reflexes. The NHTSA found that drunk drivers caused 10,497 deaths in 2016. This is why you should never get behind the wheel if you have had too much to drink.

Fatal Collisions Due to Speeding and Reckless Driving

Speeding, weaving from lane to lane, and other reckless behaviors on the road increase the risk of a catastrophic collision occurring, Th NHTSA notes that speeding played a factor in 10,111 accident fatalities in 2016. Always abide by traffic laws and the posted speed limit when you are behind the wheel.

Fatal Accidents from Driver Distraction

Now that smartphones and tablets are a common part of our lives, there’s been an increase in distracted driving collisions over the last decade. At highway speeds, you can cover the length of an entire football field in the seconds it takes you to look up and down from your phone to the road. There were 3,450 fatalities linked to distracted drivers.

Fatal Accidents Caused by Driver Fatigue

If you are feeling sleepy behind the wheel, that can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. The NHTSA found that drowsiness contributed to 803 fatalities in 2016. Always be well-rested before you embark on a drive of any duration.

Vehicle Flaws Leading to Fatal Injuries and Accidents

Sometimes other motorists are not the cause of a fatal accident. Flaws in vehicle design or vehicle components may contribute to a fatal collision as well. This is particularly worth noting when there are issues with a brake system, steering system, or the vehicle’s tires. In such instances, the manufacturer of the vehicle or auto part must be held accountable.

Legal Damages in Wrongful Death Cases

During wrongful death cases, lawyers will seek both compensatory damages and punitive damages for their clients.

  • Compensatory Damages - Compensatory damages cover the material losses associated with the death of a loved one. This includes the funerary costs, the cost of medical attention before death, the emotional pain and suffering, lost wages, vehicle damage, and so forth.
  • Punitive Damages - Punitive damages are meant to punish the negligent part for their actions. While not tied to any specific loss, the amount awarded in punitive damages is usually determined by the egregiousness of the accident and its circumstances.

Learn More About Your Legal Options

For more information about your legal options following the loss of a loved one, be sure to contact an experienced injury accident lawyer. We will work with you and offer honest legal counsel with regard to your options.

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