As a result of the car accident, the driver was charged with driving under the influence, homicide by vehicle, involuntary manslaughter and other crimes. These charges will hopefully result in justice at the criminal level, but they do not address the civil damages that occurred. For that, personal injury and wrongful death litigation are appropriate.
Personal injury and wrongful death litigation have their own unique processes and it is important to work with an experienced attorney when pursuing such litigation. In wrongful death litigation, only certain persons can initiate a suit, usually immediate family members and some others, depending on the state.
When it comes to damages, it is really important to build a strong case in wrongful death litigation. On the one hand, there are economic damages, such as the medical and funeral expenses, loss of the victim’s income and benefits, among others. On the other hand are non-economic damages which speak more to the losses that aren’t as easily measureable, such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship and consortium. These latter can be tougher to prove and quantify, but are still very real.
When building a personal injury or wrongful death case, it is critical to have a strong damages case. Without doing so, winning on liability is not going to result in the outcome the victim’s desire.
Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, “Driver in fatal crash was likely drunk, speeding, police say,” Liz Navratil, December 23, 2014.