Being involved in a truck accident can be a life-changing experience for victims and family members. Sadly, more than 5,000 people are killed in commercial truck accidents across the United States each year. Statistics tell us that the majority of truck crash victims were in other vehicles at the time of the crash. In other words, drivers and passengers of non-commercial motor vehicles are the most likely to be killed or injured in an accident. Given the sheer size and weight of a commercial truck, it is expected that serious injuries will occur as a result of a crash and some accidents will be fatal.
In the aftermath of a deadly truck accident, family members are left behind to deal with the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one. This is one of the most difficult times for any family to experience. Sadly, many fatal truck accidents were caused by driver negligence and could have been prevented. In these cases, loved ones and family members of a deceased victim may have certain legal rights. Most states allow two types of legal actions: survival actions and wrongful death claims. Here, we will take a look at both types of action and explore some of the important distinctions between the two.
Survival actions are governed by the laws of the state where the accident took place. While each state has different laws, the general principles of a survival action remain the same. These laws allow the deceased’s loved one, or next of kin, to file suit on behalf of their family member. The plaintiff in a survival case is usually the victim’s estate, specifically their court-appointed personal representative. Usually, this is a spouse or child of the victim.
Once a survival action has been filed, the next question becomes the types of available damages. Generally, survival action damages focus on injuries suffered and their effect on the decedent. Some common damages that are sought in a survival action are:
A survival action is a complex legal procedure. It should only be filed with the assistance of a skilled and knowledgeable attorney. Knowing how to present your case and gather evidence is crucial to these types of actions. Family members who may be considering a survival action should speak with an experienced national truck accident attorney as soon as possible.
A wrongful death action, like a survival action, is a legal claim that is governed by state law. Also like a survival action, a wrongful death claim allows a loved one to file on behalf of their deceased family member. Wrongful death cases are also filed by the victim’s estate or personal representative. A wrongful death claim, like a survival action, seeks to recover several categories of damages.
Unlike a survival action, the wrongful death death claim is not focused on the losses suffered by the decedent. Instead, the focus is on the losses sustained by the family members. Some types of damages that are routinely sought in a wrongful death action are:
Determining which claims are available, including whether to file a survival or wrongful death action, is sometimes a complicated question. In order to ensure that you are following the best course of action, you should speak with a nationwide truck accident attorney about your situation. There are often strategic considerations to take into effect. It is important to choose the legal path that will maximize your recovery.
Regardless of which path is chosen, it is important to keep in mind that family members have a limited time to act. Each state has a statute of limitations. In legal terms, a statute of limitations is a time within which a legal claim must be filed. In some states, the statute of limitations for a survival action is different than the statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim. In other states, the limitations period is the same.
Due to the statute of limitations, family members who are considering legal action should move forward as soon as possible. The failure to act can lead to the loss of legal rights regardless of the strength of your case.
A fatal truck accident is a devastating experience for everyone affected. While it may be a difficult time to make decisions, it is important to move forward with your claim as soon as possible. Many family members make the mistake of speaking with an insurance company prior to seeking legal counsel. This can result in damaging information being provided to an insurance adjuster at an early stage of the case. The insurance company will then use this information to its advantage in order to deny your claim.
Before speaking with an insurance agent or other third party, you should always seek advice from a qualified truck accident attorney.
Here at Burg Simpson, we can help when you have experienced the sudden and tragic loss of a loved one. Truck crashes are devastating and catastrophic events that frequently affect innocent victims. Our firm stands ready to provide legal assistance during your time of need. We will ensure that your rights are protected at all times.
We provide free consultations and case evaluations for all potential and prospective clients. When you are in need of a tough and reliable law firm, you can count on us to provide the best results. We handle most cases on a contingency fee basis so there is no financial obligation until we obtain a recovery on your behalf. To schedule your appointment with one of our national truck accident attorneys, please reach out to us using our online intake form or give us a call at (866) 695-2095.