Millions of Americans sustain serious injuries in motor vehicle collisions annually. According to the National Safety Council, for example, an estimated 4.6 million people required medical attention following traffic accidents in 2016.
Although many of those who were hurt last year will go on to make a full recovery, thousands will never get the chance. Researchers estimate that there were 40,000 car crash fatalities, which represents a 6-percent increase in the number of traffic-related deaths in 2015.
Motor vehicle collisions are almost always preventable because they typically occur as the result of at least one party’s recklessness or negligence. Under tort law, accident victims who can prove liability have the right to recover compensation for the damages they have incurred. Depending on the circumstances of the collision, the injured party or his or her family may file a personal injury claim or a wrongful death claim.
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If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a preventable crash with a drunk, distracted, or negligent driver, contact Laborde Earles Law Firm. A compassionate Lafayette injury attorney on our team will assess the circumstances of the incident and help you determine the most strategic way to proceed. Call 800-522-6733 to schedule a free consultation.
What Is the Difference Between a Personal Injury Claim and a Wrongful Death Claim?
Personal injury claims and wrongful death claims are more alike than they are different. For example, they both require proof of the four elements of negligence in order to result in a successful settlement, and they both aim to provide compensation for economic and non-economic damage that arise as the result of a preventable accident.
The single greatest difference between these two kinds of claims is the claimant. In a personal injury claim, the actual accident victim is the plaintiff. If he or she dies as a result of the injuries sustained, on the other hand, eligible family members would then proceed with a wrongful death claim.
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Thus, if you recently lost loved one and are trying to decide whether your family has grounds for a wrongful death claim, ask yourself this question: If my relative had survived the ordeal, would he or she have had a valid personal injury claim? If your family member was in a car accident with a drunk driver, for example, he or she would certainly have had grounds to sue, which means eligible relatives can file a wrongful death claim.
Regardless of whether you are filing a personal injury or wrongful death claim, you must be able to prove four basic elements in order to win the case. These elements are:
- A duty of care between the accident victim and the liable party;
- A breach of this duty;
- Injuries as a direct result of this breach; and
- Actual damages.
If your loved one died in a car accident but you are not sure how to prove one or more of the above elements, contact Laborde Earles Law Firm for quality legal guidance. Call 800-522-6733 to schedule a free case evaluation with an injury lawyer in Lafayette.