When a person is not careful, their negligence can cause the death of another person. The family of the person killed suffers a loss that is one of the most traumatic events that a family can endure.
Time is of the Essence
Often times, following a death, heirs are coping with their loss and do not consider hiring an attorney to protect their rights. Unfortunately, the time immediately after the death may be the most important time to gather information that factually shows what happened. For example, witnesses’ recollections will often be most accurate immediately after the accident, photographs taken at the scene will be particularly powerful, and other evidence that can be gathered at that time might become unattainable as time passes.
After a tragic motor vehicle accident in which a loved one is lost, many survivors are unable to cope with the thought of pursuing their legal rights. However, the surviving spouse on behalf of the children should contact legal counsel to at least discuss the options available. Our attorneys can ensure that all surviving parties are in an educated position and can make an informed decision regarding whether or not to pursue a fatal accident claim.
No Fault Benefits
In the case of a motor vehicle accident, the deceased’s family has two policies of insurance to access to assist with expenses. The policy of insurance from the motor vehicle that the deceased occupied has No-fault Benefits which include $5,000.00 for funeral service expenses, plus $400.00 for grief counseling per family, plus a lump sum “Death Benefit” amount that varies based upon the age and status in the household of the deceased at the date of the accident (for a surviving spouse with two children it would be $37,000.00 payable almost immediately). These amounts are payable to surviving family members from a fatal motor vehicle accident regardless of fault.
In addition to no-fault benefits, if someone other than the deceased was at fault for the accident, the decedent’s family may bring a claim against the auto insurance company for the party at fault. This claim, for which legal counsel is recommended, may include a variety of benefits to the surviving family.
In addition, fault can be shared between two drivers depending on the circumstances of the accident. Failure to wear a seat belt may result in a 10 to 30 percent reduction of the claim for the survivors on the basis that the deceased contributed to the resulting death by failure to wear a seat belt.
Fatal accident claims are a complex area of the law. Very different claim amounts are arrived at depending on which family member was the victim of a fatal motor vehicle accident, who the survivors are, who was at fault, and whether seat belts were worn.
The deceased’s family should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at Martin G. Schulz & Associates so that the surviving family members may make an informed decision about whether to hire a personal injury lawyer and proceed with a claim, and if proceeding with a claim, take action quickly to preserve necessary evidence.
We understand how difficult and important your time of grieving is, and are prepared to work not only for you, but with you. Please contact our offices today for your free consultation.