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When a car crash leads to any kind of injury, it is a painful event. When it leads to the death of a loved one, it is an absolute tragedy. Nothing will make up for that kind of loss, but taking legal action against the driver who was at fault may make your life a bit easier and provide some closure. The best way to do so is by hiring a Baltimore county DUI attorney and making a wrongful death claim. Below, you’ll find everything you need to know about this type of lawsuit.
Personal Injury Vs. Wrongful Death
To understand wrongful death claims, you should first learn about personal injury cases. In personal injury cases, you seek payment for the damage that the other driver caused you. That means compensation for things like medical bills and emotional suffering. When somebody dies from an accident, a wrongful death claim replaces the personal injury options. If they had lived through the crash, they would have made a personal injury claim, but they did not. Instead, you can obtain compensation on their behalf through wrongful death.
These two cases are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they are often used in conjunction. In your potential case, you might pursue a personal injury claim for your injuries and a wrongful death claim for the loss of your loved one. On the other hand, if you were not physically harmed in the crash, you may opt to only bring a wrongful death claim.
What You’ll Need to Prove
To obtain compensation for wrongful death, you must prove that the other party was negligent. This means that simple accidents likely will not apply. On the other hand, if the other driver was drunk, texting, speeding, or carrying out any other negligent behavior, you could be entitled to benefits.
Statute of Limitations
Just like personal injury claims, the statute of limitations on wrongful death cases is two years. If you wait beyond this time frame, your chances of obtaining compensation fall significantly. Thought you have two years to file, it is best to bring your case as quickly as possible. Once you talk things over with your attorney, you should start the legal process right away.
Who Can File
You can’t file a wrongful death claim for anyone. Instead, you must have a specific relation to them. The most common relationships that have a right to bring this kind of lawsuit are spouses, domestic partners, children, parents, or people who were financially dependent on the person that was killed.
How to Calculate Compensation
Like personal injury claims, you have a significant amount of freedom in which types of benefits you want to pursue. Some typical examples include funeral costs, medical bills that the deceased person accrued before dying, loss of financial support, and emotional suffering. The following are two scenarios that may help you understand better:
Scenario #1: Two parents lose their child in a car crash. Because they were not financially dependent on that child, they focus on obtaining compensation for the cost of the funeral and the emotional suffering they experienced. While funeral costs are easy to estimate, emotional distress is not. They will need to talk to their lawyer and settle on a number that seems fair.
Scenario #2: A family loses their mother in a crash. She was the primary earner in the family and supported them financially. In this case, the family of the deceased may decide to focus more on the loss in financial support. They can take her yearly salary and extrapolate a target compensation amount from it.
Coming up with a number for how much compensation to pursue is not easy, so consulting a car accident lawyer is a smart choice.
The loss of a loved one is always an emotionally scarring event, but obtaining your rightful compensation may make you feel a bit better. If you believe you have reason to make a wrongful death claim, you should talk over your options with a car accident lawyer as soon as possible.