Car accidents in Pennsylvania often result in major if not fatal injuries. There is no question that losing a loved one in a car crash is devastating. But, in addition to the grief that follows the death of a loved one, there is also the tremendous financial strain of meeting immediate expenses such as medical and funeral costs in addition to dealing with the loss of income earned by your loved one. Often, because car accidents are caused by the negligence or wrongdoing on the part of others, they lead to wrongful death claims. A wrongful death claim stems from an incident where a life was lost because of negligence, recklessness or wrongdoing on the part of someone other than the decedent.
Negligence in Car Accidents
It is a well-established fact that a majority of car accidents are caused by driver error or negligence. Here are some of the most common types of car accidents that could result in fatalities and could potentially lead to wrongful death lawsuits:
Driving Under the Influence
According to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, 150 fatal auto accidents occurred in 2016 as a result of drunk drivers. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs could severely impair a motorist’s skill and judgment on the road. This could lead to devastating crashes, which often result in deaths. When a drunk or drugged driver causes a fatal crash, in addition to facing criminal charges, he or she could also face a wrongful death lawsuit, which seeks compensation for the damages and losses caused.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that in 2016 alone, 3,450 lives were lost to distracted driving. Driving while distracted isn’t just limited to using cell phones. Any type of distracting activity such as eating, drinking, grooming, fiddling with the GPS, etc. has the potential to cause serious accidents. Any activity, which causes the driver to look away from the road or take his or her attention away from driving, could prove devastating.
Violating Rules of the Road
Pennsylvania laws require drivers to use care and caution while operating a vehicle. This means they must follow the rules of the road such as obeying speed limits, driving at a speed that is safe, yielding the right of way to vehicles and pedestrians, making safe turns and lane changes, stopping at red lights and stop signs, etc. When motorists violate these rules and drive in a manner that is dangerous and reckless, they often end up causing fatal car accidents.
If You Have Been Injured
These are just a few examples of negligence or wrongdoing in car accidents. If you have lost a loved one in a Pennsylvania car accident, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the at-fault parties seeking compensation for damages such as medical expenses, lost future income, funeral and burial costs and loss of love and companionship. An experienced Pennsylvania car accident lawyer will be able to advise families that have lost loved ones and help them recover maximum compensation for their tremendous losses.