Two cars collided on Seltice Way on Friday evening, February 18, leading to the death of a 58-year-old woman. According to a Post Falls Police officer at the scene, when they arrived at the scene, the woman had already died. Two others were seriously injured and taken to a local hospital.
Police are still investigating the accident and ask anyone with information on the accident to call them at (208) 773-3517.
Wrongful Death Auto Accidents
Though we have no idea who was at fault in the above-mentioned accident, when a person dies due to the negligence of others, then the accident can be considered a wrongful death. On U.S. roads, vehicle accidents took 40,000 lives in 2018. This is out of over 6 million auto accidents with 4.5 million causing injury.
This doesn’t mean that there are 40,000 wrongful death claims in 2018 because not all of the deaths met the criteria for a wrongful death claim.
Making a Wrongful Death Claim
If someone dies in an auto accident, it is a wrongful death if the cause of the accident is through someone else’s negligence. This means that the accident needed to have been caused by someone other than the person who died, and the accident must be the cause of death. Also,to make a negligence case, the person seeking compensation must prove that the other person didn’t use due care in operating their vehicle, and the person was injured because of that carelessness or negligence.
Who can Make a Wrongful Death Claim?
The law requires that the person making the claim have some legal relationship with the person such at blood related (immediate family), adoption or marriage. This allows anyone such as a spouse, sibling, parent child or other close family member to seek compensation for their loss.
However, the person making the claim not only has to prove that the other person caused their death through their negligence, but that they were financially harmed somehow because of the death. Most often, the estate of the deceased makes the claim, and all those who had compensable losses can share in the award.
Damages for Wrongful Death
The person seeking a wrongful death injury must prove all of the damages that they are seeking. For example, a spouse is harmed by the death of their spouse because of their losses, both tangible and intangible. Along with the obvious financial losses, things like love and affection, consortium (marital intimacy) can also be sought. A father that lost a child may have financial losses, but the emotional losses can be great as well and can be part of someone’s compensation.
Some of the damages allowed in a wrongful death claim are:
- Medical Bills
- Funeral Expenses
- Property Damage
- Loss of Financial Support
- Loss of Consortium
- Loss of Love and Affection
- Loss of Relationship (minor son or daughter losing father or mother)
Is an Attorney Needed to Make a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Idaho, a representative of someone’s estate is needed to file a wrongful death claim. This person has to be accepted by the court as an approved representative of the estate, but there is no requirement that the person either be an attorney or hire an attorney.
Having said that, many times it’s best to have someone knowledgeable in the law when making a legal claim. A wrongful death claim is likely one of those times. When an estate is involved, there are certain laws that need to be followed to ensure that everyone that has a claim be acknowledged and given notice. Failure to do so can result in the representative being sued. Also, there are certain deadlines and form requirements for filing a civil suit for wrongful death. A mistake in any one of these can possibly harm the case.
If you believe you have a wrongful death claim, you should at least talk to a knowledgeable attorney who can give you advice and evaluate your claim. Call the office of Crary, Clark, Domanico, & Chuang, P.S., for unbiased advice. They have the skill, experience and resources to go toe-to-toe with the insurance companies and their lawyers to get you fair compensation for your injuries. Call them at (509) 926 4900, or send them a message by clicking here.