Interestingly, according to statistics released by the World Health Organization, it is estimated that annually 1.3 million people die because of a road traffic crash globally. In America, about 38,000 people die each year because of a fatal traffic accident. Additionally, it is also believed that in the United States, approximately 4.4 million people require medical attention due to injuries that they have sustained during a traffic accident.
If you were involved in a fatal traffic accident, you are likely having difficulty determining what happens afterward. It is often an incredibly difficult situation that can be traumatizing. That’s why seeking the help of a qualified California auto accident attorney could be beneficial. An attorney can help guide you on what needs to be done. However, this article should enlighten you on what could happen after a fatal traffic accident.
The Steps That Follow After You Were Involved In A Fatal Traffic Accident
As with any auto accident, there are a few things you need to do if you were involved in a fatal traffic accident. Below we have briefly listed a few of the crucial steps you need to follow if you were involved in a vehicle accident where someone, unfortunately, lost their life.
- Immediately call 911 and the police if a unit has not been dispatched. In some US states, the police are not required to attend minor traffic accidents as some departments are transitioning to online accident reporting. However, a fatal traffic collision is always considered a major accident.
- After you have contacted the police, you need to get yourself and your vehicle out of danger as you don’t want to cause another accident. Yet, if the crash was severe, in most cases, it is best to leave the vehicles where they are while you await further help.
- If your injuries are not too severe, you can obtain relevant evidence, like documenting the scene and collecting important contact details.
- You need to contact your insurance and attorney as soon as possible so that they can start investigating. An investigation will help determine fault and help your case.
After A Fatal Traffic Accident, It Needs To Be Determined Why The Accident Occurred
If someone is trying to seek compensation for a fatal traffic accident, there needs to be an at-fault party liable from which financial compensation can be sought. There are a few common reasons for fatal traffic accidents, which we have listed below.
- Mechanical failures resulting from vehicle defects.
- Reckless or aggressive negligent driving.
- Speeding or distracted driving.
- Failure to obey road rules.
- Alcohol and drug use.
There Could Be Criminal Charges Involved For The At-Fault Driver
When a fatal traffic accident occurs, in some instances, an at-fault driver involved in the accident might face an array of criminal charges such as vehicular manslaughter. Ultimately, whether a negligent party involved in the fatal traffic accident is charged with a criminal charge will depend on the state’s local district attorney.
A district attorney will assess a variety of factors. Factors such as if alcohol and drugs played a role, if the driver was recklessly or distractedly driving or if there were factors out of the control of the driver. These factors will help establish if the negligent driver was criminally culpable of causing the death of those involved in the traffic accident.
A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Could Be Initiated
Should a family member have died in a fatal traffic crash in California, certain surviving family members have the right to seek a civil lawsuit in the form of a wrongful death action. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be sought if the victim could have filed a personal injury lawsuit for the various injuries they sustained if they had survived the crash.
Additionally, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed if there is a legal liability and if a personal representative of the deceased’s estate brings the action.
Get In Touch With An California Auto Accident Attorney To Discuss Your Case
A fatal traffic accident is often an incredibly daunting and trying situation. If you have recently been involved in such an accident, hiring a Riverside auto accident attorney might be worth considering. The unfortunate loss of a loved one requires the experience of a lawyer who will seek the justice your case deserves.