In early May, three men were involved in a deadly accident on Highway 168 between Auberry and Shaver Lake. The men were in a Chevrolet Avalanche truck, which rolled 200 to 300 feet down an embankment on the side of the highway. Two men from Clovis, aged 19 and 20, were ejected from the vehicle and pronounced dead at the scene. A third man, 24, was still within the vehicle, possibly up to 12 hours after the crash. Once he was extricated, he was airlifted to a Fresno-area hospital.
The tragic accident is also under investigation as a possible intentional act, according to the Fresno County Sheriff’s Office. The investigation’s direction was guided after statements made by the survivor of the accident rose some red flags for law enforcement officers.
A Wrongful Death Claim Following a Crash
When a family loses a loved one in a vehicle accident, the family may have a right to move forward with a wrongful death claim. This type of claim is available when their loved one was killed because of another person’s negligence or intentionally wrongful act. It enables the family to seek compensation for their loss, including:
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of decedent’s future earnings and benefits
- Loss of the decedent’s household services
- Loss of decedent’s care and support
In the case of a single-vehicle accident like the one above, the family of the deceased passenger may be able to bring a claim against the driver or his estate if he was careless or reckless behind the wheel or intentionally caused the crash. In most wrongful death actions based on car collisions, the family will seek to prove the driver was negligent behind the wheel. This means they did not act carefully as was required by law. However, if a law enforcement investigation uncovers evidence that the driver may have knowingly caused an accident, then the wrongful death action may be based on intentional wrongdoing instead of negligence.
Proving Intentional Wrongdoing in a Wrongful Death Claim
It can be difficult to prove that a driver did something intentionally wrong. However, it is possible. If a family believes their loved one was killed because of another driver’s knowing act, then they should contact an experienced San Francisco wrongful death attorney right away. An attorney will immediately investigate the crash to gather evidence. During the wrongful death claim, evidence may include:
- Witness testimony
- An expert accident reconstructionist’s testimony
- Other expert testimony
- Pictures and video footage of the crash
- Electronically stored data from the vehicle
Contact Our San Francisco Wrongful Death Lawyers for Help
If you lost a loved one in a car accident you believe was caused by someone else, contact the wrongful death attorneys of Brod Law Firm at (800) 427-7020. We have years of experience resenting parents, spouses, and children in wrongful death suits based on negligence and intentional wrongful acts. We are here to investigate the accident, explain your legal options, and represent you in an insurance claim or lawsuit.
(image courtesy of Justin Luebke)