Auto accident fatalities are extremely unfortunate events in the lives of the victim’s families. Not only does the decedent lose their life, but the family is left to deal with the aftermath that can include loss of financial support for dependent children and loss of consortium for spouses. It can be just as tragic when children die in an auto accident as well. The problem is that most cases will only include financial compensation for compensatory damages due to the victim unless there are extenuating circumstances that also establish standing for a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is wrongful death?
The mere fact that someone perishes in an auto accident does not justify a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death auto accidents must have evidence indicating the crash occurred due to negligence on the part of one or more parties. The most telling example is when an accident is caused by a drunk driver who is well beyond the standard .08 BAC intoxication level for DUI.
How wrongful death is proven
Proving wrongful death accident cases requires presentation of substantial evidence indicating the defendant was showing reckless disregard for human life and the safety of others at the time of the crash. Alcohol intoxication is not necessarily a requirement, as excessive speeding and wanton endangerment can establish gross negligence as well. Texting while driving could also result in a wrongful death claim in certain situations, as could driving a vehicle that is in a recognizable state of disrepair such as an extremely worn tire or malfunctioning brake systems.
Wrongful death cases are not easy to win by any measurement. However, to the benefit of the plaintiff, they are also determined based on a preponderance of the evidence instead of the reasonable doubt standard in criminal cases.