Riverside residents love their cars and rely on them daily to get to work, travel to nearby cities, run errands, and go about their daily lives. However, these reliable sources of transportation can turn deadly on a moment’s notice. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported over 36,000 traffic fatalities nationwide in 2018, and California reported more than 3,600 people killed during traffic accident in-state in 2017. In 2017 alone, Riverside reported 2,119 injuries and deaths from motor vehicle accidents. These tragedies are only made worse by the fact most of them were avoidable; almost 80 percent of all traffic collisions result from some type of distracted driving behavior. If someone else’s negligent resulted in your loved one’s death, contact a skilled Riverside Fatal Car Accident Attorney to learn if you may be entitled to compensation.
Risks for Fatal Accidents in Riverside
Riverside is a busy commuter town in Riverside County located near the 15, 215, and 91 freeways. Traveling busy, congested roads is a daily occurrence for a large part of the community, so many motorists are exposed to risky behavior by other drivers that can easily cause a fatal car accident. 61 percent of fatal accents occur in or near urban areas in places like Riverside, where traffic and the high occurrence of distracted driving, aggressive driving, drunk driving, and speeding all take place too frequently.
What Causes Fatal Car Accidents?
Most car accidents and resulting fatalities are caused by someone’s negligent behavior. At least 80 percent of motorists admit to distracted driving at occasionally, but there are many other improper behaviors that can contribute to collisions and traffic fatalities:
- Driving while under the influence
- Drowsy driving
- Road defects
- Hazardous conditions
- Running a stop sign or red light
Drivers, auto manufacturers, and even repair shops performing substandard work may all act in a way that makes them liable for a victim’s injuries.
Who Can Recover for Injuries in a Fatal Car Accident?
Even though the person killed in a Riverside car accident can’t seek compensation for their injuries, both their estate and some relatives may be able to pursue compensation for the damage caused depending on the circumstances. If the deceased didn’t die instantly, a representative of the estate can bring a survival action to recover for harms the deceased suffered between their injury and their eventual death. Even a few minutes of survival is sufficient to allow survival actions; for example, someone hit by a drunk driver who expires in the ambulance going to the hospital has survived long enough to permit the claim.
Whether the deceased died instantly or not, eligible family members may also bring a wrongful death claim for injuries they personally sustained from the death. Generally, the people who have standing to bring wrongful death suits are the deceased’s:
- Surviving spouse or registered domestic partner,
- Children, and
- Living grandchildren (if the grandchild’s parent is a deceased child of the casualty).
If none of these relatives exist, other family members may file suit if they can prove financial dependence on the deceased. This includes the deceased’s:
- Putative spouse,
- Children of the putative spouse,
- Stepchildren, and/or
How Do I Win My Case?
It’s normal for victims who’ve lost a loved one to wonder how they can recover compensation for their loss and the harms they’ve suffered. Commonly, either the estate’s representative or the eligible family members must show they were hurt by someone else’s negligence. Negligence is established by showing the defendant owed you a duty of care, breached it through act or omission, and caused your harm during the breach. If you can prove these, the defendant will be deemed negligent and liable for your proven harms. In a survival action, the estate must also demonstrate that the deceased didn’t die immediately upon infliction of their injuries.
If the estate representative or an eligible family member can prove the wrongdoer broke a law, rule, or regulation while causing the injury, the defendant is presumed negligent. This includes traffic laws such as speed limits and prohibitions against using cell phones or texting while driving.
How Much Is My Case Worth?
Depending on the type of lawsuit filed, victims may be entitled to certain damages resulting from the defendant’s negligence. In a survival action, the estate of the deceased – through a representative – may receive damages for the harms that took place between infliction of the deceased’s injuries and their death. Harms may include lost income, burial costs, property damages, and medical expenses. If the defendant’s conduct was particularly egregious, the estate may be awarded punitive damages.
In a wrongful death action, eligible family members may recover compensatory damages intended to make them whole for:
- Loss of the financial support expected from the deceased,
- The value of the deceased’s love, affection, and companionship lost from the accident, and
- Loss of the value of services contributed to their household by the deceased.
Family members, however, can never seek or recover punitive damages for wrongful death suits.
Speak with an Attorney
If you lost a loved one during a fatal car accident, no amount of money will bring them back or undo the suffering you’ve endured. However, to maximize your recovery from this needless tragedy, contact the skilled Riverside Fatal Car Accident Attorneys at Walton Law, APC right away. Our attorneys have spent years providing comprehensive, aggressive representation for victims like you and delivering results; we’ve recovered millions in compensation on behalf of our clients for their injuries. Contact us 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at (866)-338-7079 or through our online Contact Page to schedule your risk-free, no obligation case evaluation today. The initial consultation is completely confidential and free. You pay nothing until we win your case. Let our attorneys use their knowledge and skill to get the best possible outcome for you so you can focus on getting your life back on track.