According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), California saw a 10% increase in traffic deaths last year, with approximately 4,300 fatalities. Sadly, the spike in traffic-related deaths was not new, as it was the second consecutive year of increased motor vehicle crash fatalities. The nation also experienced a 16-year high in traffic deaths in 2021. Today, the world has more car accidents and related fatalities than ever.
Outlined below, are crucial steps to heed after an accident, followed by how to navigate an accident involving a fatally injured at-fault party.
- When you are in a safe location adjacent to the accident, you should always call the police as it ensures proper procedures and cooperation of all parties involved and official and adequate documentation through a police report. In addition, the accident or injured parties may require emergency medical technician (EMT) services.
- Check yourself for any immediately apparent wounds and the well-being of passengers in your vehicle.
- If you can, taking photos of the vehicles involved will be helpful later in the process, and identifying and speaking with potential witnesses. Taking notes of your recollection of the events leading up to and causing the accident is also beneficial.
- Always follow up with a medical provider, even if you feel fine, and get checked out at the emergency room, an urgent care clinic, or your primary care doctor for injuries that may not be immediately visible to you.
These steps should always be followed but are easier under typical circumstances. However, in some accidents, injuries sustained, and fatal events can prevent some of the above steps from taking place.
What happens if you get into a wreck, are injured, and incur damages, but the at-fault driver passes away in the accident?
Can you still seek compensation if the at-fault driver died in the accident?
Yes. In short, if the at-fault driver dies in a car accident, their insurance company is still obligated to pay damages to the other driver. Due to California’s at-fault status, the responsible party’s insurance company is accountable for paying damages. In the event the driver who caused the crash passed away as a result of the accident, their insurance policy would still be the source of compensation for any injuries or property damage you may have sustained but bear in mind the insurance policy likely has a limit.
What happens if the compensation offered doesn’t cover medical expenses, future expenditures related to the injury, and other associated costs and damages? The negligent driver’s estate might be able to provide compensation if the at-fault individual had inadequate or no insurance. Although seeking compensation in this way can be more complex and may require filing a lawsuit, you still have the right to pursue it. Under such circumstances, it is wise to seek the knowledgeable legal guidance of a San Francisco Bay Area attorney.
Concern for the Loved Ones of the Deceased
In addition to such instances being more challenging, they can also be emotionally burdensome. You may feel concerned for the at-fault driver’s family, what they are going through, and what the claim or suit process and receiving rightful compensation may mean for them. Yes, the individual likely has a family who is now mourning the loss of their loved one. However, medical debt and related expenses can add up quickly after an accident, so it is best not to postpone filing a claim and reaching out to a lawyer. Keep in mind that your primary point of contact, in most cases, will be with the at-fault driver’s insurance company. An experienced California Bay Area attorney can guide you through this process, provide support at each juncture, and ensure that you receive the total compensation to which you are entitled. We invited you to contact our offices to schedule a free consultation with our skilled Bay Area car accident attorney.