The death of a family member due to the negligence of another person is undoubtedly a loss that necessitates a long healing period. The loss of companionship and support, as well as income, can create an undue burden on the surviving family members. To help relieve this burden, the survivors may pursue a wrongful death action against the negligent party under certain circumstances.
A New York man recently pleaded guilty to multiple charges stemming from a hit-and-run accident that happened last fall. According to officials, the man was driving under the influence of alcohol and speeding when he struck another vehicle. Tragically, the collision killed the couple driving in the other vehicle. The man then drove off and collided with a tree several miles down the road. The charges he pleaded guilty to included vehicular manslaughter and drunk driving, among others.
Although this case revolves around the criminal aspects of the fatal accident, there may also be recourse through the civil court system. A wrongful death suit may be brought forward by the personal representative of the victim's estate, and any damages recovered would be disbursed to the victim's surviving family members.
To build a successful case, the family's attorney must demonstrate that the death was by someone else's negligence or harmful intent that created financial injury for the victim's loved ones.
Many factors are included when assessing damages in such an action, including medical and funeral expenses, lost support and services and the potential loss of inheritance. The age, health, earnings and life expectancy of the victim are also considered when determining damages for loss of income. These are among the many factors and legal options worth considering in the wake of a fatal accident.