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What Should I Do if My Loved One Passed Away in a Car Accident?

Egg Harbor Township Car Accident Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Fight for Grieving Families .

Far too often, people die as a result of car accidents, which federal safety officials at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) say are usually caused by drivers making mistakes or, in short, human error.

When the horrible news hits a family that a loved one died in a car accident, there is trauma. First, there is the loss of that person for the family and all the emotional support that meant. The deceased may also have been the breadwinner of the family, or one of the breadwinners, or that person may have been caring for minor children and/or ailing or elderly family members. All these scenarios mean significant financial changes for the family.

When these kinds of accidents happen, people are grieving, and while mourning, people often make poor decisions about the very concrete results of death in the family, such as the loss of income or the added expense of paying for the care of dependents and the home. Funeral costs and hospital bills will also need to be addressed. Under the New Jersey Wrongful Death Act and Survival Statute, surviving family members can seek compensation for all these financial and emotional losses.

Because you are going to need time to grieve and try and find a way for the family to move forward despite this loss, you need to contact a car accident lawyer, who can advocate for your family’s needs.

How a Car Accident Lawyer Can Help?

The family members of the person who died in a fatal car accident in New Jersey can seek compensation in the same way the deceased person would be able to file for damages following an accident.

There are some things to keep in mind following an accident, and these are best handled by a lawyer:

  • Establishing liability is not always easy. Particularly in a car accident where there are no witnesses, if one of the drivers involved has passed away, it is often the case that the only other account is from the driver or people in the other car. Police will investigate the accident, but witness testimony is valuable, particularly when the driver of one of the cars has died.
  • Even if the deceased driver is found to be partially responsible for the accident, under New Jersey laws, the surviving family members may still be able to receive compensation. Drivers in New Jersey can seek compensation for damages from a collision if they are found to be less than 50 percent at fault for the accident. The compensation is reduced by the amount of responsibility the driver had in the accident; for example, a person found to be 20 percent at fault will get their damage compensation reduced by 20 percent. However, if a driver is found to be more than 50 percent responsible, they are not able to recover damages.
  • The at-fault driver may face criminal charges, such as vehicular manslaughter. In a fatal car accident, the local district attorney will be weighing the facts of the case to determine if the other driver was criminally culpable in the death of your loved one. Although those criminal charges may help the deceased’s family members believe that there will be some justice following this tragedy, the family will be seeking compensation through a civil suit, which is a separate matter.
  • Mechanical failures may be an issue. A defect in the vehicle, or a part of the vehicle, may be grounds for a wrongful death suit against the manufacturer.
  • If the other driver was working at the time of the accident, there may be grounds for a lawsuit against the employer.

Egg Harbor Township Car Accident Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm Fight for Grieving Families

Following the loss of a loved one in a fatal car accident, family members will be grieving. Because there are decisions that will need to be made and bills to pay, the Egg Harbor Township car accident lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm can advocate for the family’s needs going forward. Call us today at 609-926-3300 or contact us online for a free consultation. With an office in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we assist clients in Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City, Woodbury, and across South Jersey.