According to a report from ABC 10, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) confirmed that one person was killed in a traffic collision in Tracy. The accident happened on Grant Line Road. Few details were released by the CHP about the cause of the crash. Unfortunately, motor vehicle collisions remain a leading cause of accidental fatalities in San Joaquin County. Here, our Tracy personal injury attorneys provide an overview of your rights if your family member is killed in a crash.
California is an At-Fault Motor Vehicle Accident State
California operates under the “at-fault” system in motor vehicle accidents. It is a standard that has major implications for motor vehicle accident claims, including for fatal crashes. The party responsible for causing a deadly crash can be held legally responsible for the resulting damages. It is crucial to determine who was negligent or at fault in causing the crash, as this individual’s insurance will generally be responsible for covering the resulting losses, including medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and in tragic cases, wrongful death damages.
Surviving Family Members Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim
In California, not everyone is eligible to bring forth a wrongful death claim. The law allows the decedent’s surviving spouse, domestic partner, and children to pursue such a claim. In some circumstances, if there are no surviving persons in the decedent’s line of descent, then a wrongful death lawsuit may be brought by anyone “who would be entitled to the property of the decedent by intestate succession.” In other words, the decedent’s parents or siblings may also have a claim.
Understanding Wrongful Death Damages in California
No amount of financial compensation is sufficient to make things right after a deadly crash. Still, surviving family members need justice and financial support. In wrongful death claims in California, various types of damages may be awarded to compensate the surviving family members, including:
- Economic Damages: These consist of financial contributions the deceased would have made if they had lived, including future income, benefits, and the value of household services and direct out of pocket expenses, such as funeral and burial costs.
- Non-Economic Damages: These damages pertain to the more intangible losses experienced by the surviving family members, such as loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, and moral support.
- Punitive Damages: Punitive damages are not available in every car accident wrongful death claim in California. However, they can be granted if the defendant (at-fault party) engaged in grossly negligent conduct. As an example, imagine that a person was killed in a crash with a drunk driver in Tracy. Punitive damages may be granted to the surviving family members.
Contact Our Tracy, CA Personal Injury Lawyer Today
At Redkey Gordon Law Corp, our Tracy personal injury attorneys are standing by, ready to fight for your rights and interests. Hurt in an accident? You need a top legal advocate on your side. Contact us right away for a free consultation. We handle personal injury claims and wrongful death claims in Tracy, San Joaquin County, and throughout the wider region.