The loss of a loved one in a fatal accident due to the negligence or misconduct of another cannot be fully compensated by any amount of money. However, the injuries and costs associated with such a loss impact the victim’s family and can impose a significant financial burden on family members. If negligence exists on the part of another party involved in the accident, the family may be entitled to damages in a wrongful death action to help alleviate the financial burden.
A fatal one-car accident occurred in New Jersey on Thanksgiving, killing two female passengers and injuring the driver and another young male. The driver of the vehicle remains in the hospital in critical condition, and the other survivor is also in the hospital with his condition unreleased. The accident transpired when the driver lost control of the car, entered the median and then collided with two trees. After investigating the accident, police charged the driver with failure to safely change lanes, reckless driving, underage drinking and DUI. Officials have impounded the vehicle in order to continue their investigation.
When a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another person or entity, it constitutes a wrongful death. To bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit, plaintiffs must prove the death of human being that was caused by the negligence or harmful intent of another, which resulted in financial damages to the victim’s family– and that a personal representative has been appointed for the victim’s estate. A personal representative brings the action, but possible monetary recovery belongs to the victim’s immediate family members.
A plaintiff can establish negligence if the defendant was impaired while driving from the use of alcohol. Many states have laws that take blood alcohol content tests of drivers involved in accidents that result in death or serious injury; the tests are either mandatory or discretionary. In a wrongful death suit based on the defendant’s drunk driving, plaintiffs must prove the intoxication level of the defendant, that the level was too high to safely operate a vehicle and that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care.
In cases where someone is killed in an accident that is caused by the impaired driving of another, the victim’s family may be entitled to compensation for the costs incurred resulting from the victim’s death. It is important that the family be aware of their right to compensation.