Car Accident Fatally Injures Passenger Near Merced County
I’m Ed Smith, a Merced wrongful death lawyer. A single-vehicle accident claimed the life of a Woodlake man near Snelling in Merced County on July 31, 2018. A Tulare man was driving his Chevrolet Silverado pickup truck southbound along La Grange Road in the vicinity of State Route 59 at approximately 5:04 p.m. For unknown reasons, the Chevrolet driver lost control of his vehicle after reportedly failing to navigate a right-hand curve in the road and veered into the northbound lane. The Chevrolet motorist then attempted to correct his truck by turning sharply to the right; however, his efforts were unsuccessful. The Chevrolet traveled down an embankment, rolled over multiple times and struck several trees in the area. Unfortunately, a passenger of the Chevrolet succumbed to his injuries at the scene. Authorities have identified the victim as 59-year-old Ampelio Contreras of Woodlake.
Our sincere thoughts and prayers go out to the loved ones of Mr. Contreras who lost his life in this devastating accident.
Passenger Injury Claims in Single-Vehicle Accidents
Drivers are trusted by their passengers in keeping them safe on the road. Passengers also depend on other drivers to follow traffic laws and drive safely. Since passengers have little to no control over the outcome of a car accident, they are often left with severe or even fatal injuries as a result. When this happens, an injured passenger or their surviving family members may have the grounds to bring a claim against a responsible driver for damages incurred.
In California, wrongful death is defined as the death of an individual resulting from the negligent or wrongful act by another party or entity. For example, cases that may be considered a wrongful death claim under the law may include loss of life caused by motor vehicle accidents, use of a dangerous and/or defective products or drugs, or medical malpractice.
Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The parties entitled to bring a wrongful death claim must have a strong connection to the decedent and meet the requirements of California Code of Civil Procedure section 377.60 to claim damages. These parties include:
- A domestic partner or spouse
- A putative spouse (an individual who believed he or she was married to the decedent, but no legal documents are stating so)
- Children of the decedent
- Other dependants, such as parents, stepchildren or minors, who relied on the victim for at least 50 percent of their income. Minors may be considered only if they lived with the decedent for a minimum of 180 days
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim
The damages for wrongful death are losses suffered as a result of losing a loved one. As such, a claim for wrongful death generally compensates a family for the deprivation or loss of the following:
- Costs of a funeral, memorial, and burial
- Emotional pain and suffering
- End-of-life medical bills are recoverable in a survival action (e.g., the decedent lived a short time during emergency treatment before succumbing to his or her injuries caused by the accident)
- Estimated benefits and amount of income a victim would have earned for the remainder of his or her life had the incident not occurred
- Loss of consortium can be claimed by a spouse
- Loss of the decedent’s care, guidance, and training
- Loss of inheritance and future financial support
- Loss of household services, including cooking, cleaning, landscaping, tending to children, and other contributions to the family
- Punitive damages are available if a victim was killed as a result of an intentional act, such as felony homicide
Should I Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?
Traffic accidents can lead to terrible injuries; however, losing a family member as a result of someone else’s negligence is devastating. If this has happened in your family, it is crucial to contact a seasoned wrongful death attorney in Merced. An experienced attorney can guide you through the steps of filing a wrongful death claim, communicating effectively with insurance companies and negotiating with any parties involved. When you have an attorney by your side, you will be ensured your case will be in good hands while you grieve during this difficult time.
Merced Wrongful Death Lawyer
I’m Ed Smith, a Merced wrongful death lawyer. The loss of someone you love resulting from a collision with a negligent driver is heartwrenching. When this happens to a family, a wrongful death claim may be filed against a responsible party to provide some comfort. While no amount of money can fully compensate for the loss of a loved one, monetary compensation can help surviving family members move on with their lives. If this situation applies to your family, please feel free to give me a call any time at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, free and friendly advice.
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Visit my Verdicts and Settlements page to see how I handled cases in the past for my clients.
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