Most people involved in an accident are not aware that sometimes a defective component or the vehicle itself may have led to, or worsened the accident. These defects may harmfully lead to serious accidents. In such instances, we represent victims of car crashes that may have been caused by vehicle defects, using document and liability experts. Our wrongful death attorneys at The Hartman Law Firm, LLC has helped people get the compensation and justice they deserve.
Understanding “Wrongful Death”
When someone gets involved in an accident that unfortunately causes loss of life, in which the death was caused by another entity or person’s negligent actions, we referred to that as wrongful death. However, it will depend on the circumstances to be qualified as a wrongful death in which your attorney will determine. When a business or in this case a manufacturer is responsible, certain parameters can be checked to determine if its a liable cause. For instance, a defective airbag, seatbelt, or malfunctioning brakes can make the manufacturer be part of the wrongful death.
Proving Liability In Wrongful Death
When an incident occurs that causes harm or serious injuries, there may be different theories that can be used to prove liability. It is a paramount requirement for any personal injury lawsuit your car accident attorney knows very well. Theories used in proving liabilities are as follows:
Breach of warranty: is normally referred that the company that manufactured, sold, or distributed the vehicle made a promise of the condition of the car. This warranty is to the benefit of the buyer and when presented in a court of law, the sellers find themselves in the defendant’s section.
Negligence: Negligence is when the cause of the accident is directly related to another person’s behaviors such as speeding, failing to stop at a road sign, or any other careless behavior. Here, defendants are the driver and the vehicle’s owner.
Product liability: Product liability is almost the same as the breach of warranty theory. It is based on the theory that those who put the products in the hands of the public are liable for its safety and condition. Each state has its own product liability laws. The main perk of product liability is that the injured party (or person) does not have to prove any signs of wrongdoing on their part. It takes into account that the parties involved in the manufacture and sale of a vehicle are in the best position to determine its safety. Instances of product liability cases are when the car doesn’t steer correctly, or when the fuel lines cause a sudden explosion. Cars subject to state recalls are recalled due to issues with product defects.
Consumer protection laws: While consumer protection laws are not necessarily applied at persons who get injured due to the defect, they protect the person from occurring the financial costs of defective vehicles. This can be returning bad vehicles or even compensation for the value of the car.
Any person or entity involved in the distribution or supply of the vehicle is a possible defendant. In a typical product liability case, the defendants may include the original seller of the car, the manufacturers, or the distributor. Responsible parties go as specific as the manufacture of the defective part and not just the seller or the distributor as a whole. If an accident occurred due to defective brakes, the manufacturer of the brakes and the auto manufacturer would be included in the lawsuit.
Who Can Bring A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The state laws identify the following persons who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit:
- A surviving spouse
- Children if there’s no surviving spouse
If in any case there’s no one to qualify for these claims, the estate’s personal representative can bring forward the wrongful death lawsuit. The laws revolving around wrongful death claims are quite complicated and more often you are not expected to know if you can bring a lawsuit or not. However, you can consult with a Charleston wrongful death attorney to help you analyze whether you are eligible to file such a lawsuit.
Also, you may have noticed that a prosecutor is not involved in bringing up a wrongful death lawsuit. That’s because the lawsuit is not a criminal prosecution in several ways. Firstly, when a wrongful death lawsuit is presented, the defendant can only be legally responsible for causing your loved ones to die without being criminally responsible. That means the parameters that determine a wrongful death case are mainly based on the defendant’s level of negligence.
Secondly, the punishments involved in a wrongful death lawsuit does not include a jail term. The defendant will only pay you money damages. Also, this kind of judgment nullifies this as criminal prosecution and will not result in the defendant having a criminal record. In criminal cases, the prosecutor must show that the defendant was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
Compensation Types in A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Surviving family members can receive settlements for different kinds of losses associated with wrongful death, such as:
- Survivors emotional grief
- Loss of companionship
- Lost wages and benefits that the deceased would have earned had he lived
- Loss of care
Some of these compensations can be difficult to value. For instance, in the instance of loss of wages, it is hard to calculate with confidence what jobs the deceased would have worked on. Luckily, your Charleston wrongful death attorney can calculate the amount to be settled based on your loved one’s education and current income. Other compensations like loss of care are intangible but an experienced attorney will be able to estimate the amount to be settled.
Contact a Charleston Wrongful Death Car Accident Lawyer
Losing a loved one is painful and is likely to cause fears about how you would come with future expenses. Your lawyer will be able to get your case and present it to help you get the most decent compensation possible for you and your family. You can ease your financial burden by contacting The Hartman Law Firm, LLC attorneys. We have wide experience in dealing with wrongful death cases for our clients.