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Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

I’m Ed Smith, an Antelope wrongful death lawyer. Traffic accidents are a matter of concern for those living in Antelope and the surrounding areas of Sacramento County. When a traffic accident is caused by a negligent driver, it can result in a wrongful death for which the family can seek financial compensation. Let’s look at what negligent acts or omissions occur, what causes them and how this affects a wrongful death claim.

Driver Negligence

Driver negligence means that the driver operated the vehicle in a way that endangered others, which caused an accident. Errors commonly cited as causes of motor vehicle crashes include:

  • Failure to yield the right of way: Failure to yield not only occurs at traffic lights or signs but at unmarked intersections, when making a turn or on ramps or when merging.
  • Driving the wrong way: Turning into a one-way street the wrong way or entering an exit ramp onto a highway can be disastrous. Most drivers who commit this error are drunk drivers.
  • Driving without headlights or signaling: When lights on a motor vehicle are out, used incorrectly or not used at all, it makes it difficult for other drivers to see the vehicle or misinterpret what the driver is doing.
  • Accessing electronic devices while driving: This includes GPS systems, the stereo, changing a CD or talking and texting on a cell phone. Even minor distractions such as these can cause an accident.
  • Incorrect passing: Drivers that pass in no-pass zones, drive on the shoulder or pass thinking they can beat oncoming traffic are dangerous to other drivers.
  • Neglected maintenance: Vehicles with worn tires or brakes or engine problems contribute to crashes. Regular maintenance can help avoid this issue.
  • Making incorrect turns: Turning from an incorrect lane and suddenly slowing or stopping in order to make a turn can cause accidents. Crashes also happen when a vehicle attempts a right turn on red without checking for oncoming traffic or other vehicles turning.

Classifying Driver Error Nationwide

A study undertaken by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration a few years ago concluded that motor vehicle accidents resulted for the following reasons:

  • An estimated 2,046,000 occurred due to driver error.
  • 44,000 were caused by problems with the vehicle itself such as a blown tire, engine problems or other mechanical problems.
  • 52,000 had environmental factors as a cause of the accident. This included atmospheric (inclement weather) and bad roadway conditions (malfunctioning signals, road obstructions or defects or similar causes)
  • Unknown causes were cited in the remaining 47,000 motor vehicle crashes.

Driver Error Statistics in 2016

Out of the serious crashes that occurred around the country in 2016, 94 percent were attributed to driver error, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The fatality rate increased 2.6 percent over those in 2015. The following represents percentage changes in fatality types:

  • Deaths from distracted drivers were lower by 2.2 percent at 3,450.
  • Drunk drivers were a factor in 10,497 motor vehicle fatalities, an increase of 1.7 percent.
  • In 2015, there were 803 fatalities because of drowsy drivers. This represented a 3.5 percent decrease.
  • Fatalities caused because seat belts weren’t used increased 4.6 percent to 10,428.
  • Speeding was deemed a factor in 10,111 traffic fatalities, which represented a 4.0 percent increase.

Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases

There are two types of damages that can be recovered. The first deals with expenses for end-of-life medical services as well as funeral and burial costs. The second involves the monetary loss a family experiences when financial support the deceased provided is suddenly withdrawn by their death. This includes the income the decedent would have earned, the cost of hiring someone to do work about the home previously done by the deceased and inheritance the person might have left to the family in the future.

Antelope Wrongful Death Lawyer

I’m Ed Smith, an Antelope Wrongful Death Lawyer. If you have lost a loved one because of a negligent driver, please contact me at (916) 921-6400 or my toll-free number at (800) 404-5400 for friendly, free advice about your situation.  If you prefer, you can use the contact me form at my website,

I belong to the Million Dollar Advocates, a group forum of trial lawyers who have obtained client settlements or verdicts of $1 million or more.

In addition to information about some of our previous cases, find out what other clients have had to say about my law firm at:

For 35 years, it has been my honor to have represented Antelope residents and those from the surrounding areas of Northern California in injury cases such as brain injuries and vehicular accidents to obtain fair compensation.

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