Fatal Car Accidents
Many people lose their lives on the roads in California each year, often due to incidents involving distracted driving or drunk driving. If you have a family member who died in a fatal car accident, nothing can make up for your grief. However, there are also important practical considerations, such as paying the mortgage, buying groceries, and handling childcare. Devin Sawdayi is an experienced Los Angeles fatal car accident lawyer who can determine whether you may have a case against a careless driver who struck your loved one. He can represent families who need a car crash lawyer to compassionately guide them during a time of grief.Wrongful Death Claims Based on Fatal Car Accidents
In California, you may have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against someone who is responsible for your loved one's death. A wrongful death claim is appropriate when someone dies because of another person or entity's negligence or wrongful act. Unlike a criminal case brought against a driver who kills another person with their car, a wrongful death lawsuit is brought to court by the decedent's survivors in order to pursue monetary damages.
The burden of proof is lower with regard to a civil claim based on negligence than a criminal case. While a prosecutor must prove the defendant's guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, a very high standard of proof, a plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit must prove negligence by a preponderance of the evidence.
To show negligence, a fatal car accident attorney in Los Angeles will need to prove that the defendant owed a duty of reasonable care, breached that duty, and caused the victim’s death. For example, if a driver was speeding and ran a red light, T-boning your husband's car when your husband had the right of way, you may bring a wrongful death lawsuit. It is likely that you would be able to show that the driver's speeding and failure to obey a traffic signal was the cause of your husband's death.
You may bring a wrongful death claim even if a criminal case is also moving forward, but only some people are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit in California. The decedent's surviving spouse is first in line to sue for a fatal car accident. A domestic partner may also sue for wrongful death. The decedent's surviving children would be next in line, and if there are no children, the lawsuit may be brought by anyone who is entitled to inherit through intestate succession. This often includes, for example, the decedent's parents, brothers, or sisters. There are certain family members who may be able to bring the lawsuit because they were financially dependent on the decedent, such as a putative spouse, children of a putative spouse, or stepchildren.
Damages depend on the relationships between family members and the decedent. Generally, the estate may recover damages for funeral and burial expenses, medical bills, lost wages, and lost income that would have been earned in the future had the decedent lived. Other damages that family members might receive include loss of love and community, loss of financial support, loss of guidance, and household services. These damages may vary dramatically depending on the nature of your relationship to the victim. For example, someone who spoke to her mother regularly and got advice on daily matters would likely be seen as having lost a relationship of significance if her mother died in a fatal car crash, and the damages might be substantial.Hire a Compassionate Fatal Car Accident Lawyer in the Los Angeles Area
If a loved one passed away in a fatal car accident, your life is likely to change in many ways. Some of these changes are tangible, while others are more intangible. A trustworthy Los Angeles fatal car accident attorney can focus on negotiating with insurers, developing the evidence, and taking your case to trial during your time of grief. Contact Devin Sawdayi at 310-475-9399 or via our online form for a free appointment with a wrongful death lawyer.