What Happens When Someone Dies in a Car Accident?

Mourning Wrongful Death

Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident in Vegas is both a shocking and devastating event–no one plans for a fatal car accident to occur. While you may be reeling from the crisis and unsure about how to proceed or what you will do next, it’s important that you take proper steps to protect your right to bring forth a wrongful death claim and seek justice on your lost loved one’s behalf. At the law office of Ladah Law, our car accident and wrongful death attorneys are available to help. Consider the following information about what happens when a person dies in a car accident, read through the frequently asked questions and answers, and please schedule a free consultation with us at your convenience to discuss your case in more detail.

What Steps Do I Need to Take After Losing a Loved One in a Car Accident?

Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident can be paralyzing, and doing anything in the immediate aftermath can feel completely impossible. When you call our law firm, we can provide you with the legal support you need. Here are some things to do immediately after the car accident (note, some of the following may only sound relevant if you are at the accident scene–even if you are not at the accident scene, though, all of the following are important and need to be completed at some point):

Report the accident to the police. If an accident is fatal, there is no doubt that it will be reported to the police. Make sure that you request a copy of the police report for your records, as this will be essential when bringing forth a claim.
Gather evidence. If you are able to gather any evidence, be sure to do so. This might include photos of the accident scene, eyewitnesses’ names and contact information, etc. The sooner that you call our law firm, the sooner that we can open an investigation into your case.

Report the accident to an insurance company immediately. When a person dies or is severely harmed in a car accident, the insurance company needs to know so that it can open its own investigation into the case as soon as possible. An insurance company can deny a claim when it is not provided proper notice.

Hire a car accident attorney as soon as possible. When you are grieving the death of a loved one, the logistics of preparing for a wrongful death car accident claim are not something that you should have to face alone. For the help and support that you need, be sure to call a car accident attorney as soon as possible.

What Is a Car Accident Wrongful Death Claim?

When a loved one dies in a car accident, a cause of action for a car accident wrongful death claim may exist. A car accident wrongful death claim is a type of civil suit in which a plaintiff seeks to hold a defendant liable for the death of another party. These types of claims are similar to personal injury claims, but for the fact that the victim is deceased and therefore unable to bring for the claim on their own. If the negligent, wrongful, or reckless conduct of one party leads to the death of another, a cause of action for a wrongful death claim exists.

Types of negligence or reckless conduct that can lead to fatal car accidents, and therefore which may give way from a wrongful death claim, including things such as speeding, driving too fast for conditions, driving aggressively, performing illegal lane changes or other illegal maneuvers, driving intoxicated or fatigued, running a red light, etc.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If a loved one has died in a fatal car accident in Vegas, you may be unable to file a wrongful death claim for damages unless you had a specific relationship with the victim. To be sure, in Las Vegas, the only parties who are allowed to file a wrongful death claim include the personal representative of the decedent’s estate (usually named in the decedent’s will or appointed by the court), the surviving spouse of the deceased, the surviving domestic partner of the deceased, the children of the deceased, or the parents of the deceased person if there is no surviving spouse or child.

Sometimes, other people are allowed to file a wrongful death claim, even if they didn’t have one of you the relationships with the decedent specified above, if they can demonstrate to the court that they were dependent on the deceased person at the time of their death.

What Types of Damages Are Recoverable in a Car Accident Wrongful Death Claim?

While nothing can ever give you back the life that you have lost, there are multiple reasons to file a wrongful death claim. By filing a wrongful death claim, you may be able to deter others from engaging in similar actions in the future, such as drunk driving. Further, you can hold the at-fault party liable and responsible for your loved one’s death, which may give you a sense of closure and a feeling as though justice is being served. Finally, you can recoup monetary damages that can help you to afford costs related to the decedent’s death, your costs of living, and more.

Funeral from Wrongful Death
Types of damages that are available in a wrongful death claim in Las Vegas include:
Funeral and burial expenses;

  • Medical expenses incurred before death;
  • The value of lost wages and benefits/loss of earning capacity of the deceased;
  • The value of property damage incurred by the decedent’s estate in the crash (i.e. the value of damage to a vehicle);
  • The loss of benefits to any heirs of the decedent; and
  • The value of the loss of care, parental guidance, companionship, and affection of the deceased person.

The above damages are types of compensatory damages, specifically, economic and non-economic damages. In addition to compensatory damages, sometimes, punitive damages are also recoverable. Punitive damages are not meant to compensate the plaintiff but are instead designed to punish the defendant for egregious conduct.

How Can a Las Vegas Car Accident Lawyer Help Me?

When you work with the Las Vegas car accident and wrongful death lawyers at the office of Ladah Law, we will make sure you feel like a priority and will work hard to get you the settlement that you deserve. We know how painful losing a loved one is and will approach your case with the sensitivity and respect that it deserves. Losing a loved one is beyond unfair, and there is nothing that can truly compensate you for such a loss. With that in mind, we work hard to improve your chances of recovering the full value of your economic and non-economic damages, as well as punitive damages when available and appropriate. We’ll handle all of the details of your case, including opening an investigation, hiring experts, proving fault and liability, identifying sources of compensation, calculating damages, negotiating a settlement, filing a lawsuit, and more.

To learn more about your rights after losing a loved one in a car accident and what steps to take now to protect your right to damages, please reach out to our Las Vegas car accident and wrongful death lawyers as soon as possible. You can reach us by phone: 702-252-0055 or online to schedule your free consultation.