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Deadly Car Accidents: Your Rights if Your Family Member Gets Killed in a Car Crash in California

Sadly, traffic collisions are the leading cause of accidental death in the United States. According to a California Office of Traffic Safety report, 3,606 people were killed in car crashes in the state in 2019 alone. The problem may be getting even worse, preliminary data from the National Safety Council (NSC) shows that the national car accident fatality rate increased by 24% in 2020. 

Nothing is more devastating than losing a loved one in a deadly car accident that never should have happened. While nothing can make things right and bring back your loved one, your family deserves answers and deserves justice and financial support. In this guide, our Los Angeles car accidents attorneys explain the most important things you should know about your legal rights if your family member gets killed in a fatal crash in California.

Close family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit

A deadly car accident may be the basis of a wrongful death claim. Under California law (California Code of Civil Procedure § 377.60), surviving family members and/or the estate have the right to sue the responsible party when a person dies as a consequence of a wrongful act. 

Unfortunately, not all friends, family members, and loved ones of the victim have standing under the California wrongful death statute. Generally, civil wrongful death claims can be filed by: 

  • A surviving spouse
  • Children 
  • Parents
  • The estate of the victim 

Wrongful death claims are fault-based claims 

A deadly car accident requires an immediate, comprehensive investigation to determine what happened and why it happened. To bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a driver, a truck company, vehicle manufacturer, or any other defendant, the victim’s family must prove unlawful conduct. In other words, the evidence presented must show that the defendant’s negligence (carelessness or recklessness) caused the accident leading to the death of your loved one.

If your loved one gets killed in a car accident, you need an experienced attorney by your side as soon as possible. A lawyer will help your family secure all of the evidence necessary to pursue justice.

What compensation can be recovered in a California wrongful death lawsuit?

 A wrongful death lawsuit works by compensating the victim’s surviving family members for their losses, both economic and non-economic. Through a wrongful death car accident claim, the family of the victim may be entitled to recover financial support for:

  • Out-of-pocket medical costs
  • Funeral & burial expenses
  • Loss of financial support that the victim would have provided 
  • The reasonable value of “services” provided by the victim
  • Loss of society and companionship, affection, moral support, guidance, and sexual relations.

Contact our Los Angeles wrongful death attorneys today

At El Dabe Ritter Trial Lawyers, our Los Angeles car accident lawyers have the skills and experience to represent families in wrongful death claims. If your loved one gets killed in a fatal collision, we are here to handle your legal issues while you focus on yourself and your family.

From our LA law office, we provide personal injury and wrongful death services throughout Southern California. For a free or confidential consultation, contact us today at 888-333-8882.

Call Today! (888) 333-8882