Losing a loved one in a fatal car accident is devastating. You are undoubtedly suffering emotionally, and you might be having trouble making ends meet. However, it may be comforting to know that the courts allow you to seek justice and compensation after enduring such a traumatic experience. At MG Law, our compassionate advocates can help you file a legal claim after someone you loved passed away in a car accident. This post will discuss some basics about wrongful death actions and claiming compensation in fatal car accidents so that you can better understand your options.
Fatal Car Accident Statistics
In 2021, there were 42,915 motor vehicle fatalities in the United States. This number is disheartening, especially because many of these accidents were preventable.
In Georgia, motor vehicle accident fatalities are on the rise. Between 2019 and 2021, car accident fatalities jumped by 21%. According to the Georgia Department of Public Health, motor vehicle crashes were the second leading cause of injury deaths in 2020.
In order to better prevent car accidents, we recommend that you follow general safe driving practices. These practices include things like wearing a seatbelt, refraining from drunk driving, and following the speed limit. By being a safe driver, you could be saving a life.
Filing a Claim for an Auto-Accident Death
When a car accident occurs in Georgia, the party who is at fault is liable for damages relating to injury or death. If a loved one has passed away due to a car accident, you will want to file a claim with the other driver’s insurance company as soon as possible.
These types of claims are called third-party claims because you are the third party to the other driver and their insurance. Sometimes, insurance companies try to make filing a claim complicated. There are a few steps you can take that will help you during the claims process.
Step 1: Collect Information About the Accident
Before you file a claim, you should try and collect as much information about the accident as possible. You should get a copy of the police report. If possible, speak to potential witnesses who may be able to testify about what they saw. In addition, try and get photos of the scene of the accident and the area surrounding it.
Step 2: Collect the Other Driver’s Information
In order to file a third-party insurance claim, you will need to collect the at-fault party’s relevant insurance information. This information includes their name, auto insurance policy number, their phone number, and license plate number.
Step 3: Contact the Deceased Driver’s Insurance First
You should also contact the insurance company that provided coverage to your loved one. Even when a driver is not at fault for an accident, most insurance policies require that an accident be reported to the provider. In addition, the insurance provider may also be able to help you with filing a third-party insurance claim against the other driver.
Step 4: File a Third-Party Liability Claim
After you speak with the deceased driver’s insurance provider, you should file a third-party liability claim with the other driver’s insurance provider. You can usually do this online through the insurance company’s website.
After you file a claim, the insurance company will likely conduct an accident investigation. We recommend that you allow a lawyer to speak on your behalf during the investigation. A lawyer will be able to help protect your legal rights and help you maximize your compensation.
Why Do I Need A Lawyer?
Claiming compensation in fatal car accidents can be a complicated process. And, to make things worse, insurance companies are notoriously difficult to work with. Sometimes, they can try to intentionally delay a claim. Other times, they will try to offer a lowball initial settlement amount.
Working with a lawyer throughout the claims process can help you make sure that big insurance companies don’t take advantage of you. A lawyer can also help you bring a wrongful death action if you can’t negotiate a satisfactory settlement amount with the insurance company.
What Is a Wrongful Death Action?
A wrongful death action compensates certain family members for losses that stem from losing their loved one. When you can’t negotiate a satisfactory settlement with the at-fault driver’s insurance company, the next step is usually a wrongful death suit. In Georgia, the decedent’s surviving spouse, the decedent’s children, and sometimes, the decedent’s parents can file a wrongful death claim.
If you are going to file a wrongful death action in Georgia, you should also know about the relevant statute of limitations. Georgia law generally requires that you bring a wrongful death claim within two years of the decedent’s date of death. However, there are certain exceptions that might give you more or less time to file. An experienced wrongful death attorney can determine when you need to file your claim.
What Is the Average Payout for a Car Accident Death?
Because every case is unique, there is no reliable way to determine what the average payout is for a car accident death. However, it may still be helpful to know what sorts of damages you may be able to recover in a wrongful death suit. Some of these damages include the following:
- Medical expenses,
- Funeral expenses,
- Lost wages, and
- Loss of consortium.
These are just some of the types of damages that you may be able to recover in a claim for wrongful death in Georgia. An attorney can identify and calculate all of your damages so that you can be sure you’re seeking all of the compensation you’re entitled to.
How Can MG Law Help You?
At MG Law, we have the tools and experience required to help you through the third-party claims process. And if needed, we can help you file a wrongful death suit in Georgia. Our firm deals with these types of cases regularly, so we know what it takes to stand up to big insurance companies.
When you work with MG Law, you don’t have to worry about up-front legal costs. We work on a contingency basis, which means that we don’t get paid until you do. Reach out to us to schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we can help you.