Two Killed in Merced County Car Accident

Two Killed in Merced County Car Accident

Two people were killed in a Merced County car accident on the evening of August 19, 2019. The collision happened shortly after 6:00 p.m. at Avenue 24 and Road 22 near Chowchilla. A 55-year-old United Kingdom man was driving a Toyota Rav-4 with his three family members northbound on Road 22. For unknown reasons, he reportedly failed to yield for a sign at the intersection. The Toyota then collided with a Saturn van occupied by four Chowchilla residents. The impact of the collision propelled the Saturn into a power pole, causing it to fall to the ground. The Toyota veered out of control into an irrigation ditch. Emergency responders were called to the scene to transport the four occupants of the Toyota to the Community Regional Medical Center in Fresno for treatment of serious injuries. The 47-year-old man who was driving the Saturn and his 18-year-old passenger were both critically injured and taken to the hospital for immediate treatment. Sadly, the other two passengers in the Saturn were pronounced deceased at the scene. Officials have identified the decedents as 45-year-old Gregoria Gudino Vargas and 50-year-old Martina Gudino Vargas, both residents of Chowchilla.

Loss of a Loved One in a Merced County Car Accident

Anytime you lose someone you love suddenly and unexpectedly to a car accident, the grieving process that follows may be challenging to cope with. Coming to terms with a loved one’s death may be compounded with frustration and anger when dealing with unsympathetic insurance claims adjusters. However, a family does not have to go through this process alone. A Merced wrongful death lawyer is dedicated to pursuing justice for a family who has lost a loved one in an auto accident. A lawyer is there to provide experienced representation and compassion to those in need during difficult times such as these.

What is Wrongful Death in a Merced County Car Accident?

Wrongful death is considered any passing of a family member caused by a negligent act. To prove wrongful death in a car accident, a family must be able to establish the four elements of negligence. This includes the duty of care, breach of duty, causation, and damages. If survivors are able to prove these elements, they may be able to hold the negligent driver financially accountable through a wrongful death claim.

What Are Wrongful Death Damages?

There are two types of compensation available in a wrongful death claim, economic and noneconomic damages. Economic damages are intended to compensate survivors for the financial hardships they have experienced. Noneconomic damages consider the intangible harms a family has suffered due to a wrongful death car accident. They include:

  • Costs of funeral and burial services
  • Expenses for a loved one’s end of life medical care. These may be claimed through a survival action.
  • Household services that the decedent would have provided to the family had he or she lived, including home repairs, cooking, and caring for children. The value of these lost services may be calculated by an economist.
  • Loss of a loved one’s protection, assistance, companionship, comfort, care, affection, and moral support
  • Loss of a parent’s guidance and direction for surviving children
  • Supplement of lost earnings that the family member would have contributed to the financial support of surviving family members

A settlement from a wrongful death case may never replace the irreplaceable. However, this may serve as a remedy to provide surviving family members the right to hold those accountable for their carelessness or negligence. For more details on these types of claims, watch the below video.

Is There a Statute of Limitations on Wrongful Death?

Specific time limits are set by every state on bringing a wrongful death case. This is known as the statute of limitations. For wrongful death, survivors have a two-year window to file a claim. When the death was caused by the negligence of a government entity, the statute is reduced to 180 days from the date of a loved one’s passing. If a claim is not filed within the deadline, the family may lose the right to recover compensation.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in California?

When a death in California is caused by the negligence of someone else, specific relatives are entitled to wrongful death benefits. These include the decedent’s living spouse, domestic partner, or children. If such parties are nonexistent, the putative spouse, stepchildren, or parents of the deceased may also be eligible to file. This is only permitted if they depended on the decedent for financial support. Any minor who was financially dependent on the decedent and lived with him or her for at least 180 days before the wrongful death may also bring a claim. For more details, reach out to an experienced wrongful death attorney in Merced.

Wrongful Death Lawyers in Merced

I’m Ed Smith, a Merced wrongful death lawyer. Losing someone you love to a car accident is devastating. If you have lost a loved one in a tragic accident and you feel someone else is to blame, please give me a call at (209) 227-1931 or toll-free at (800) 404-5400 to receive my compassionate, free, and friendly advice.

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I am proud to say I belong to several legal organizations, including the National Association of Distinguished Counsel and the Million Dollar Advocates. The first group is for attorneys who exhibit high standards of excellence in their legal practice. The other forum limits membership to trial attorneys who have won $1 million for a client through a case settlement or verdict.

As a Merced wrongful death attorney, I understand the pain a family goes through when a loved one is lost due to the negligence of another. This is why I dedicate my time to helping those families hold negligent parties accountable for their loved one’s wrongful death. To see how we have resolved past cases, head over to our Verdicts and Settlements page.

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