Philadelphia Fatal Accident Lawyer
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 6 million car accidents reported in 2014. While fatal accidents have generally declined over the past several decades, the United States still reports more than 30,000 traffic accident fatalities a year.
Each of these fatalities is a person with loved ones, causing many people to confront the heartbreaking reality of losing someone to an accident. The death of a cherished person is everyone’s worst nightmare. In the case of a fatal traffic accident, the additional question of fault can create many more difficulties.
Leading Causes of Fatal Accidents
While accidents can happen to anyone, there are several common contributing factors to fatal accidents:
- Driving while exhausted: Fatigue is a leading cause of fatal accidents and can be as dangerous as driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. This is not surprising in light of research conducted by the National Sleep Foundation that found 37% of drivers have fallen asleep behind the wheel of a car. Younger adults and adults with young children in the household are more likely to drive while fatigued than others are, though the problem is widespread.
- Alcohol or drug intoxication: Despite increasingly strict DUI laws, approximately 28 people still die every day because of an intoxicated driver. Impaired drivers account for a third of all traffic fatalities. Impaired driving is most commonly the result of alcohol consumption, although legal and illegal drugs contribute to 16% of vehicle collisions.
- Speeding: Although most people don’t view speeding as an extremely dangerous behavior, more than 9,000 car accident fatalities a year involve a driver who was speeding.
- Distracted driving: There are many possible distractions for drivers, including eating or drinking while driving, talking to vehicle passengers, or fiddling with the radio. AAA estimates that distracted driving contributes to 16% of fatal accidents, resulting in approximately 5,000 deaths yearly.
- Cell phone use: Because of texting and other distractions, cell phone use while driving has led to its own category of distracted driving. In this era of constant connectivity, cell phone use is one of the primary distractions for drivers; the National Safety Council (NSC) estimates that 26% of all car crashes in 2013 involved cell phone use of some kind, either talking or texting.
Determining Wrongful Death
If you have recently lost someone to a fatal accident, it can be overwhelming to figure out what to do next. While nothing will ever replace your loved one, you may be due compensation for their wrongful death. Wrongful death means that your loved one died because of someone else’s negligence. If you have lost a loved one to a fatal accident, legal counsel can help determine whether you have grounds to pursue a wrongful death suit.
Experienced lawyers will look at the facts of the fatal accident to decide who was at fault and the best course of action. In some cases, there may be more than one entity responsible. In a wrongful death suit, a victim’s family members have the right to seek compensation for their loss, including:
- Monetary damages for the deceased’s lost wages and earning potential, medical bills, and funeral expenses.
- Damages due to the pain and suffering from the loss of the loved one’s presence and companionship.
While there are laws that govern the process of a wrongful death suit, these cases are often very emotional. Judges and juries have some leeway to consider the emotional impact of a death on loved ones and adjust awards accordingly.
If you or someone you know has lost a loved one to a fatal accident, contact the experienced Philadelphia injury lawyers at Ciccarelli Law Offices now for help.