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When can a car accident lead to a wrongful death claim?

On Behalf of | Jul 5, 2023 | Auto Accidents

A car accident can leave its victims with all kinds of injuries. While some injuries may not require specialized medical attention, others can be fatal. If a loved one loses their life following a car crash, you may pursue the liable party for the resulting economic and non-economic damages through a wrongful death claim.

But just because a loved one has died following a car crash does not automatically mean that you can file a wrongful death claim. Your case must have merit.

Establishing the merits of a wrongful death claim following a car crash

Generally, death is considered wrongful if it is occasioned by another person or entity’s unlawful action or unintentional negligence. Here are driver behaviors that can justify a wrongful death claim:

  • Driving under the intoxication of alcohol or other drugs
  • Reckless driving
  • Failing to yield way to other road users
  • Speeding beyond designated speed limits, especially in residential areas or school zones
  • Disregard for basic traffic rules
  • Driving a faulty vehicle

Most of these acts are criminal in nature. Thus, besides the wrongful death claim, the defendant may also face criminal charges.

Suing for wrongful death in California

A loved one’s wrongful death can certainly throw your life into disarray. However, California law has certain restrictions regarding who can bring the claim, and within what time frame. Under the state’s wrongful death laws, the victim’s spouse, legal partner or children may bring a wrongful death claim. These laws also stipulate the timeframe within which you can bring the claim. And in California, this is two years from the date of the loved one’s wrongful death.

No amount of monetary compensation can bring a loved one back to life. However, if a loved one loses his life due to another person’s fault, filing a wrongful death claim can ensure that you recover applicable damages and help bring the matter to some form of closure.