Death From a Car Wreck in Los Angeles: What Should I Do?

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Los Angeles, CA 90071
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Car Wreck Lawyer in Los Angeles

Los Angeles has long been one of the best cities in the US to live in because of the vibrant community, eclectic art scene, beaches, diverse dining experiences, and the nice year-round weather. Because of all these advantages, of course, Los Angeles is crowded with people. Most residents of LA would cite congested streets as one of the least appealing aspects of living here. 

Los Angeles has repeatedly been identified as among the worst cities for traffic in the US, and it's only getting worse as the population density increases. You may be reading this because you’ve recently experienced the loss of a loved one due to a fatal car accident in LA and are researching what your next steps should be. We're here to help you with some guidance during this difficult time.

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Get answers to commonly asked questions about our legal services and learn how we may assist you with your case.

Morgan & Morgan

  • When should you get a lawyer for a fatal car accident in Los Angeles?

    Right after losing a loved one in a fatal Los Angeles car accident, you're probably still reeling from the loss and aren't sure what's next. Speaking to an attorney should be a top priority if the accident was due to another driver's recklessness or negligence. You could have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Right now, the last thing you want to deal with is fighting the insurance companies to recover your damages. 

    You may feel tempted to accept their first offer because of the stress and grief you're dealing with. However, the first offer is typically not the best offer, and it may be far undervalued. You must take into account factors like future medical bills that may trickle in months after the death of your loved one. Also, you should be able to claim expenses for the funeral, burial, and other costs associated with their death.

    Additional damages that could potentially be recovered are pain and suffering (if your loved one did not die immediately,) loss of future income and loss of consortium or support around the household. All of these reasons create a compelling argument as to why you should hire an attorney immediately to protect your rights.

  • What are car accident fatality statistics in Los Angeles?

    In 2020, despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the streets of Los Angeles remained a place of peril. The number of people injured or killed remained almost unchanged from previous years. 238 people lost their lives in collisions in 2020 compared to 246 in 2019.

    Officials cite the cause of deaths remaining virtually unchanged from the previous year even though far few drivers were on the road was due to a "pandemic of speeding." It was a simple matter of open roads enticing people to drive at reckless speeds.

    In Los Angeles, drivers have the tendency to disrespect other drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists by failing to share space on the streets. In 2021, the number of car deaths shows no sign of declining. In fact, by April 2021, there has been a 50% increase in fatalities compared to the same timeframe of the previous year.

  • What are the most common causes of road accidents in Los Angeles?

    You might think driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol leads to most roadway fatalities, but you'd be wrong in that assumption. Speeding is the number one cause of fatal accidents. Even driving a few miles over the speed limit can cause someone to lose control of their vehicle. Speeding when driving in hazardous weather conditions like rain increase the chances of having an accident. 

    Distracted or careless driving is another leading cause of accidents, primarily due to cell phone usage. Anything that distracts a driver from the road can lead to an accident. That's why it's against the law in Los Angeles to use a handheld device while driving. Distracted drivers are not focussing on the road ahead, making them more likely to hit and kill someone.

    Driving while drowsy is another factor that increases the risk of car accidents. Sleep deprivation can cause a mental impairment that can be compared to drunkenness. A person that has gone 24 hours without sleep has the rough equivalent to a blood alcohol content of 0.10%. People that work certain types of jobs like commercial trucking, bus drivers, or those who work long irregular or night shifts are more prone to drowsy driving.

    Failure to obey traffic signals like stop signs and stop lights is a common cause of fatal car wrecks. When a driver fails to yield when they are supposed to, the chances of hitting another car that is rightfully entering the intersection skyrockets. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, more than 900 people die every year in accidents that involve a red light runner. Red-light runners are a huge problem in Los Angeles, and the main reason offenders admit to running red lights is, being in a hurry.

  • Does the person who caused a fatal car accident go to jail?

    While grieving after the loss of a family member, many people struggle with what happens afterward. A reasonable assumption for families is that the person at fault will have to face criminal prosecution. But often, the offender won't face criminal charges if there were factors outside of their control, such as weather, poor road conditions, or mechanical failures that happened unexpectedly. 

    If the fatality happened because the person was driving carelessly or recklessly, they could face a charge of vehicular manslaughter. Whether a person is charged or not is handled by a Los Angeles district attorney. Some factors they may consider are the driver's conduct before the accident and their driving history.

    In many instances, if a driver is found under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they will face some sort of criminal repercussions for their actions. Even a stone-cold sober driver can be criminally charged if they disobeyed traffic laws. 

    Much is decided on the police reports after a fatal Los Angeles car accident. Both the police and insurance companies will investigate the scene to determine fault, including taking witness testimony. They will inspect the damage to vehicles, look for skid marks, order blood tests if relevant, and review security camera footage if any is available.

  • Does the at-fault driver's insurance pay for wrongful death claims?

    In the aftermath of a death from a car wreck in Los Angeles: "What should I do" is something family members ask themselves. You may already be struggling to keep up with medical and funeral expenses from this unexpected tragedy. 

    Depending on the circumstances of the accident, a wrongful death lawsuit can provide relief for economic and non-economic damages. The liable party is almost always required to pay at least part of the expenses for medical services, burial costs, and lost wages. And in some instances, mental suffering and a diminished quality of life for survivors could be considered.

    When it comes to liability, it's not always limited to the other driver. Other parties that could be sued are the actual owner of the vehicle if it was borrowed or a car manufacturer if the accident was caused by mechanical failure or a faulty part. Poorly maintained roads could be blamed on the city or county. Suppose it was a driver operating in a commercial capacity. In that case, the driver's employer could be held liable if the driver had a poor driving record, the vehicle was improperly maintained, or over its weight capacity.

  • What makes a fatal car accident a wrongful death?

    As dictated by the law, a wrongful death accident is an unintended fatality that was caused by someone else's negligence or recklessness. The law to be aware of concerning wrongful death claims in the state of California is the statute of limitations. You have a filing date deadline of two years from the date of the death of your loved one. 

    If the case is not filed in the state's civil court system within that time frame, you almost certainly lose your right to file, so again, that's why it's crucial to hire a Los Angeles wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.

  • What is the average settlement for a fatal car accident in California?

    In California, the law requires drivers to maintain bodily injury liability insurance in case they injure someone while driving. It is a minimum of $15,000 for one person's death or bodily injury or $30,000 total for wrongful death or bodily liability of people hurt or killed in an accident.

    Outside of the minimum insurance requirements, the person who is liable can still be sued for damages exceeding this limit. You could go after assets like their home, stocks, jewelry, and art, for example. The amount you can receive will either come in the form of a settlement or, if it comes to it, a verdict from a civil trial.

  • Why choose Morgan & Morgan for my wrongful death by car accident in Los Angeles?

    At Morgan & Morgan, our wrongful death attorneys have decades of experience helping families recover from the economic crisis that often comes after the loss of a loved one. We understand how difficult this time is, and we will handle your claim with compassion and understanding. 

    For wrongful death cases, our attorneys have helped win billions for clients over the past 30-years we've been in business. While past victories don't predict the future, they speak to our lawyers' dedication to fighting for our client's rights. You shouldn't have to fear financial ruin because of someone else's carelessness. 

    The value of your case will be determined by a number of factors like the circumstances of your loved one's death, the limits of insurance coverage, and if the liable person has any assets. You don't have to worry about any upfront costs either, as we work on a contingency basis which means we don't get paid until you do.

    You deserve to live your best life moving forward after your devastating loss. We're here to help you achieve this and fight for the full compensation you have coming to you. Contact us today for a free, no-risk case evaluation. 

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“I was in a difficult situation when I was injured by a faulty product. I was hesitant to seek legal help but with the help of Morgan & Morgan, they made the process easy. They took immediate action and got me the compensation I deserved. I couldn't have done it without them. I highly recommend their services.” Estate of Patricia Allen v. RJ Reynolds, et al. | 2014

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