Category: Legal Consultation

Who Can Bring A Wrongful Death Claim When A Car Wreck Causes A Death?

Who Can Bring A Wrongful Death Claim When A Car Wreck Causes A Death?
All too often a car wreck ends somebody’s life. The consequences are tragic. Losing a loved one creates a big hole in the family dynamic. Relationships have to be reformed within the family unit. There is no chance to say goodbye. There are no more memories to be made. There are only memories of the past. Grief sets in. Folks can blame themselves for what happened. It’s never easy when a loved one dies unexpectedly.

Many car crashes are caused by one of three acts of negligence. 1. Driver fatigue; 2. Driver inattention; 3. Drugs and Alcohol. Certainly deaths are caused by speeding, failing to yield, being on the wrong side of the road, and other acts. The precipitating cause giving rise to the wreck usually starts with any one or more of being tired, cell phones or texting, or chemical impairment mentioned above.

It is natural, that when somebody dies, the grieving family wants to make somebody pay for causing the death. Most states require drivers to have insurance to cover wrongful death damages.

In many states there are several classes of persons who can bring a wrongful death claim. One class includes the parents, the spouse and the children of the deceased. If the deceased has children that also are dead, the lineal descendants of the deceased fall under class one folks who can make the wrongful death claim.

Some states only permit the estate to bring the claim for wrongful death.

Other states may include siblings or grandparents.

Every state has different laws outlining who is eligible to bring the wrongful death claim. It is important to check your state law to determine if you are in the circle of eligible parties who may bring the wrongful death claim.

Every state also has different statutes of limitations. Depending on the state, the wrongful claimant may have anywhere between 1-5 years to bring the claim before the statute of limitations prevents the claim from going forward.

This is meant to be a very brief primer on who can bring the claim. If you have lost a loved one through somebody else’s negligent actions, you should consult with a lawyer to find out your rights and time limits for filing the wrongful death claim.

Thanks to our friends and contributors from Wolff Trial Lawyers for their insight into wrongful death claims.

Law gavel on a stack of American money

Can a Victim of Assault File a Civil Lawsuit?

Victims of assault may file a claim against their perpetrators in civil court and, in some matters, other parties may as well.

Many victims have successfully sued in cases concerning assault or abuse. Most of these cases stem from a criminal prosecution. A perpetrator may face criminal charges in court that can lead to fines, jail time, probation and other sanctions. They might also find themselves in civil court, where  they may be held accountable for harm and emotional damage that was caused by their actions.

Types of Damages and Claims

Compensation in a civil suit regarding abuse will depend on the specific facts of the case and the legal theory on which the matter is argued. While associated with a criminal matter, civil courts consider assault a personal injury lawsuit. Thus, it should be managed by a lawyer familiar with representing clients in civil matters that deal with personal injury and assault. An experienced attorney will understand that compensation in a civil lawsuit concerning assault or abuse will depend on the degree of physical and emotional harm suffered by the victim and the physical and emotional harm that they will continue to suffer from in the future.

Because of the sensitive nature of these matters, juries may award high damages. This leaves the perpetrator – even if they are sitting in jail after a conviction – liable to pay a judgement. Unfortunately, if the perpetrator is unable to cover the debt, collection may not be possible. Liability insurance policies commonly do not cover damage, injury or suffering from intentional acts, leaving only personal assets as the main source of compensation.

Managing the Case

If the perpetrator is found guilty in a criminal court, the victim may have a greater chance for compensation in their civil suit. The civil lawsuit may require the victim to present evidence used in the criminal suit.

What If There is No Criminal Case?

If there was no criminal matter or if the perpetrator was not convicted of a crime, the victim can still file a claim against the perpetrator. In fact, with the standard of proof being lower in civil matters, the personal injury attorney will only need to prove it is more likely than not that the perpetrator is responsible for the pain, damage and suffering inflicted on the victim.

To make sure an assault related civil lawsuit is managed properly, you may need an experienced DC personal injury lawyer in your corner. Contact a personal injury lawyer to set up a free consultation to review the details of your case and determine your next step forward.

Thanks to our friends and co-contributors from Cohen & Cohen, P.C. for their added insight into the possible civil implications of a criminal act.