CALL ZINDA LAW GROUP AT (800) 863-5312 TO SPEAK WITH A WRONGFUL DEATH LAWYER FOR FREEDrunk driving accidents affect more than just the parties involved in the wreck. The consequences of these preventable accidents include property damage, fines, and jail time. When the accident results in the death of another, lives are shattered. Surviving family members of the decedent may be able to hold the at-fault party responsible by filing a wrongful death claim. If you have experienced the death of a loved one due to a drunk driving accident and are interested in filing a claim, call Zinda Law Group’s drunk driving wrongful death attorneys at (800) 863-5312 for a 100% free case evaluation.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
DRUNK DRIVING FATALITIES IN THE U.S.Drunk driving is one of the most preventable causes of death throughout the United States. Given the widespread accessibility to popular rideshares, such as Uber and Lyft, it makes no sense to get behind the wheel after drinking. Listed below are several sobering statistics regarding drunk driving throughout the nation.
- Every day, almost 30 people in the United States die in drunk-driving crashes — that’s one person every 50 minutes
- Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 29% of the total vehicle traffic fatalities in 2018
- According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 36,560 people died in traffic crashes in 2018 in the United States, including an estimated 10,511 people who were killed in drunk driving crashes involving a driver with an illegal BAC
- Drugs other than alcohol (legal and illegal) are involved in about 16% of motor vehicle crashes
- Of the 1,233 traffic deaths among children ages 0 to 14 years in 2016, 214 (17%) involved an alcohol-impaired driver
- In 2010, the most recent year for which cost data is available, drunk driving deaths and damages contributed to an annual cost of $44 billion
WHAT ARE WRONGFUL DEATH CLAIMS?A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil claim brought by the surviving members of a deceased individual against another person or entity who can be held liable for the death. Grounds for a wrongful death claim may exist when a person dies due to the legal fault of another person. A wrongful death lawsuit, if successful, can provide financial compensation in the form of damages to the party who brought the lawsuit. In addition to drunk driving accidents, other common cases involving wrongful death include workplace accidents, aviation accidents, product liability claims, and medical malpractice. In general, any fatality caused by the wrongful acts of another may result in a wrongful death claim. Although the precise elements of a wrongful death claim may vary by state, the essential elements that comprise a wrongful death claim typically include:
- A death;
- Caused by the wrongful conduct of the defendant;
- Giving rise to a cause of action the deceased could have pursued if the death had not occurred;
- Survival by one or more persons who have suffered a loss as a result of the death; and
- Damages that can be recovered by the estate
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Reasonable medical, nursing, and other health care expenses related to the deceased person’s final injury or illness
- The value of support and services the deceased provided to family members
- The value of parental nurturing, care, and guidance to surviving children
- Wages and benefits lost between the deceased person’s final injury or illness and his or her death
- Loss of inheritance suffered by surviving children
- Conscious pain and suffering endured by the deceased due to the final injury or illness
WHO CAN SUE FOR WRONGFUL DEATHIndividual state laws govern drunk driving wrongful death lawsuits. As a result, the party or parties that may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim depends on the jurisdiction. In general, a representative of the decedent or the decedent’s estate must file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the real parties in interest—that is, the survivors who suffer damage from the decedent’s death. The representative is usually the executor of the decedent’s estate but can be a person or entity designated by the decedent’s last will and testament. Alternatively, the person may be designated by state law. For instance, some states designate the surviving spouse as a party with standing to file a wrongful death claim. The “real parties in interest” vary from state to state. Some of those people may include immediate family members like spouses and children. Some states allow more distant family members, such as brothers, sisters, and grandparents, to bring wrongful death claims. If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, consider consulting with a wrongful death attorney before taking any formal legal action. An attorney may be able to determine whether you are eligible to file a claim and may provide helpful advice regarding how to best protect your legal rights.
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