With roadways full of commercial trucks on a daily basis, accidents are bound to happen. When they do, cars are often involved. According to the FMCSA, Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, 72% of those killed in accidents with trucks were either drivers or passengers of the other vehicles. Too often, these accidents are caused by truck driver negligence or mechanical defects in the trucks themselves.
Losing someone you love in a fatal truck accident is devastating. Not only are you missing your loved one, but you may also experience financial hardship after their loss. While you can’t bring them back, you do need to consider any options you may have available to you to hold those at fault accountable and also seek a financial solution. One of these options is to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Why File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Truck drivers have a legal duty to exercise caution and safety at all times while driving. They also, along with the truck companies and manufacturers, must follow stringent federal and state regulations. When any or all of these are neglected and a death results, any of them may be held liable.
If your loved one dies in a truck accident, and you can prove the death occurred due to neglect, fault, or other wrongful act, you have a solid claim for a wrongful death lawsuit. Such a lawsuit can be filed against numerous parties, including the driver and the driver’s employer, the owner of the truck, as well as those involved in the manufacture and maintenance of the parts of the truck.
Wrongful Death Lawsuits require the following of legal procedures, which are outlined as steps to take to pursue the lawsuit and seek the maximum compensation available. Each state may have different procedures to follow, so contacting a personal injury lawyer in your state will be necessary.
What Damages to Seek in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The damages you seek in your wrongful death lawsuit will depend upon many factors, including what state the accident occurred in. Commonly, however, both economic and non-economic damages will be sought by your attorney.
Economic damages include medical treatment costs for a loved one prior to passing, as well as funeral expenses. Also, damages for lost wages and benefits may be pursued, as well as a few others, such as childcare costs usually provided by the deceased.
Non-economic damages are more complex to define and include such factors as loss of companionship and the pain and suffering of the survivor. The survivor may be defined as the spouse, children, or parents. Certain other individuals may pursue these damages as well.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Each state may slightly differ in who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased, so be sure to conduct your research or reach out for legal advice. The list of possible filers may include:
- Parent (if deceased is unmarried)
- Life partner, or domestic partner
Often, the person filing the wrongful death lawsuit is the survivors’ representative and also the one in charge of the deceased’s estate.
The months following a loved one’s death in a fatal truck accident will be challenging, both emotionally and financially. Be aware, however, that there is a time limit on when a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed following the accident. The majority of states adhere to a statute of limitations of three years from the date of your loved one’s death.