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Steps to Take if a Car Accident Causes Death of a Loved One

Experiencing the sudden loss of a loved one due to a car accident is incredibly devastating. While nothing can truly compensate for the loss, taking legal action through a wrongful death lawsuit can help bring some form of justice and financial support to the surviving family members. 

In such difficult times, it’s essential to understand the necessary steps to take if a car accident causes the death of your loved one. The attorneys with Sand Law will work to protect the rights of you and your family. We’ll do everything we can to make sure those responsible for your tragedy face full accountability for their negligence. If you would like to schedule a free consultation, please contact us online or call 651-291-7263.

Determine if You Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit on Their Behalf

The first step in seeking justice for your loved one’s death is to determine if you can file a wrongful death lawsuit on their behalf. The eligibility criteria for filing a wrongful death claim can vary from one jurisdiction to another, so you must understand the laws specific to your location. In Minnesota, immediate family members, such as spouses, children, or parents, can file a wrongful death claim. These individuals are typically considered the primary beneficiaries. 

To clarify your eligibility, consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney who can provide guidance based on their knowledge of the local laws. They’ll assess your relationship with the deceased and advise you on the legal options available. An attorney specializing in wrongful death cases will have the expertise to help you navigate the complex legal process and determine the best course of action.

Take Note of How Long You Have to File Your Case

After establishing your eligibility to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you next need to know the statute of limitations for such cases. The statute of limitations sets a specific time limit for filing a lawsuit. You must initiate legal proceedings within this timeframe to maintain your right to pursue a claim forever.

The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Minnesota is three years from the date of the victim’s death. You not only need to be aware of this deadline, but you also need to take legal action before it expires. Consulting with an attorney immediately after the accident is essential to ensure you don’t miss the deadline.

Collect Any Evidence

Gathering evidence is crucial in building a strong case for a wrongful death lawsuit. The evidence you collect will help establish liability and demonstrate the negligence or wrongful actions of the responsible party. Start by collecting all available information about the car accident itself. This may include obtaining a copy of the police report, which typically contains important details about the accident, statements from witnesses, and the officer’s observations.

Photographs of the accident scene can be invaluable evidence. Take pictures of the vehicles involved, the surrounding area, skid marks, and any visible damage. Also, collect any other relevant documentation, such as medical records or bills related to the treatment your loved one received after the accident. These records can help establish the cause of death and the extent of the injuries suffered.

Preserving any physical evidence is also crucial. If the vehicles involved in the accident are still available, ensure they’re properly stored and not repaired or destroyed. Personal belongings damaged in the accident can also serve as evidence. It’s vital to document and preserve these items. They may provide insights into the severity of the impact or demonstrate the negligence of the at-fault driver.

Gather Health and Employment Records

Obtaining the deceased’s health and employment records can help establish the impact of your loved one’s death on the surviving family members. Medical records, including diagnoses, treatments, and hospital bills, are crucial in demonstrating the extent of the injuries and medical expenses. These records can help calculate the economic damages you may be able to claim in the lawsuit.

Employment records are also essential, particularly if the deceased was your family’s primary source of income. Gather information about their employment history, including income statements, tax returns, and other relevant documentation. This documentation will help determine the financial support lost due to the death.

Working with an attorney experienced in wrongful death cases can significantly help during this process. They will guide you on specific health and employment records necessary to support your case. They’ll also ensure you’ve collected all the necessary documentation to build a strong claim.

Work with an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney

Navigating a wrongful death lawsuit can be emotionally challenging and legally complex. A skilled attorney will have in-depth knowledge of the legal processes and provide valuable advice and guidance throughout the proceedings.

Your attorney will begin by evaluating the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death and the evidence you’ve gathered. They’ll then help you build a strong case, ensuring all necessary documentation is prepared correctly and filed. They’ll also handle communication with insurance companies and the responsible party’s legal representation, aiming to negotiate a fair settlement on your behalf. If the at-fault driver’s insurer refuses to settle, your attorney will be prepared to represent you in court and advocate for your rights during the litigation process.

Seek Compensation for Damages

The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to seek compensation for the damages suffered due to the car accident. Damages may include economic and non-economic losses. Economic damages typically encompass medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, loss of financial support, and other quantifiable monetary losses. Non-economic damages, on the other hand, account for the emotional impacts of the loss. These include loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and mental anguish.

Your Sand Law attorney will work closely with you to determine the full extent of the damages the deceased and the surviving family members suffered. Then, we’ll diligently seek maximum compensation for your loved one and your family. Please schedule a free case evaluation by calling 651-291-7263 or using our online contact form.