Car Accidents and Wrongful Death Claims: A Brief Guide

Most of us drive or ride in a passenger vehicle on a daily basis without a second thought, but the reality is that getting into an automobile can be extremely dangerous. Unfortunately, even those who engage in safe driving behaviors may be put at risk when others on the road choose to drink, text, or ignore regulations when they’re behind the wheel. Far too often, these poor decisions result in serious personal injuries or even fatalities. If your loved one has died in an Oregon car accident due to negligence on behalf of another driver, you may decide to pursue a wrongful death claim. Contact a Portland Wrongful Death Lawyer at Mayor Law to see how we can help. Here’s what you should know about these types of claims:

The Main Causes of Fatal Car Accidents

Distracted driving: Although the percentage of drivers using handheld cell phones and other electronic devices decreased between 2015 and 2016 (from 3.8% to 3.3%), distracted driving behaviors, such as texting and driving, are still a common occurrence.

Driving under the influence: This pertains to unsafe driving due to alcohol intoxication, illicit drugs, or even prescription medications. Around 16% of motor vehicle crashes can be attributed to legal and illegal drugs other than alcohol.

Reckless or unsafe driving: Driver fatigue can result in a fatal crash, as can speeding, unsafe lane changes/passing, or behaviors that defy the rules of the road. Inexperienced and elderly drivers may also make mistakes that result in fatal crashes.

Weather or defects: Fatal crashes may not always be caused by the drivers involved. Unsafe driving conditions (such as inclement weather, black ice, etc.) often play a part. In addition, manufacturer or street defects may be at least partially to blame. For example, an underlying issue with a vehicle or a non-visible road sign could cause an accident that results in death.

When You May Be Able to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Normally, when a driver sustains an injury as a result of another’s negligence, they would contact a Portland car accident lawyer about pursuing a personal injury case. In the case of a wrongful death, personal injury lawyers can also help. Oregon has statutory rules pertaining to wrongful death claims, which requires a legal representative of the estate to file the lawsuit on behalf of the estate’s beneficiaries. The statutory beneficiaries who are entitled to receive the proceeds from a wrongful death claim include the decedent’s spouse, parents, and children. In addition, most of these claims will necessitate:

  • Another driver/entity (like a manufacturer or organization) caused an accident that resulted in a loved one’s death
  • The driver/entity acted wrongfully, negligently, or was otherwise at fault for the accident
  • The deceased is survived by a spouse, parent, child, or other beneficiaries/dependents
  • There are damages (monetary and/or non-monetary) resulting from the death

What to Do If Your Loved One Has Died Due to Negligence

Wrongful Death Attorney Travis MayorThis will undoubtedly be an emotionally devastating time for all involved. If your family member or loved one has died in a car accident and another party is responsible for the incident, the best thing you can do is to contact an attorney right away. Your lawyer can help you through the process and can determine whether filing a claim will be an appropriate course of action.

To find out more about filing a wrongful death claim due to a car accident or other type of misconduct, contact Mayor Law today.

Additional Information on Wrongful Death Claims