A man who died on a freeway in San Francisco during a recent wrong-way crash was a married father of seven according to a report on the accident from The Epoch Times. The motor vehicle accident victim, a 40 year old part time Uber driver who was carrying passengers at the time of the crash, was killed when a driver driving against traffic crashed head-on into the minivan he was driving on Highway 101 in San Francisco. The victim was originally from Afghanistan and had worked as a translator for the U.S. Army for a number of years before immigrating to the Bay Area with his family four years ago in search of a better life for himself and his family. He was a full-time student during the day and drove for Uber at night according to friends who were interviewed in connection with the crash. He leaves behind a wife and seven children ranging in age from 2 to 15. The other driver, 21 and from San Jose, also was killed in the collision but police are still investigating whether she was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of collision.
This sad incident highlights not only how dangerous the roads of California can be, but also the consequences of negligence on the roads; in this case, seven children will grow up without a father and a wife will have to face life without her husband and raise those same children alone due to someone else’s negligence. It is in such cases of negligence that California law permits those who have been left without a father, mother, spouse or partner to pursue monetary damages in a wrongful death lawsuit in an attempt to make such persons whole for the victim’s death.
Motor Vehicle Deaths in California
Although Mississippi is the state with the rate of motor vehicle fatalities of any state in the country, California is still a dangerous (and often fatal) place to drive a car. According to statistics from the California Office of Traffic Safety, thousands of Californians are killed in traffic accidents every year. Perhaps more importantly, the rate of motor vehicle accident deaths in California continues to increase on an annual basis. For instance, according to the most recent compilation of data provided by the Office of Traffic Safety based on the years 2015 and 2016 (the most recent years for which complete data is available), traffic fatalities on California’s roads increased 7 percent from 3,387 in 2015 to 3,623 in 2016. Drunk driving fatalities increased from 911 in 2015 to 1,059 in 2016. In addition, in 2016, 15 percent of all drivers killed in motor vehicle crashes who were tested tested positive for legal and/or illegal drugs. Therefore, although it is currently unknown whether the 21 year old who was driving the wrong way in the accident discussed above was under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol at the time of the crash, it is somewhat likely based on these statistics as well as how the accident occurred that she may have been.
Wrongful Death Claims and Lawsuits under California Law
Under California law, a wrongful death claim arises when one person dies as the result of the wrongful act or negligence of another person or entity, such as in the recent wrong-way accident which killed a father of seven in the Bay Area. A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit. It is separate from criminal proceedings related to a death which may have occurred either in or as a result of a motor vehicle accident. Unlike a criminal proceeding, a wrongful death claim seeks to compensate the victims of someone else’s negligence that led to the death of a person through monetary damages rather to punish the person who caused that death through incarceration or other forms of punishment.
Under California law, only certain designated persons may bring a wrongful death claim based on someone’s death in circumstances such as motor vehicle accidents. These individuals who can bring a claim are known as the victim’s survivors. Statutory survivors under California law include the deceased person's surviving spouse, the deceased person's domestic partner and the deceased person's surviving children. In the case of the 40 year old Afghan man killed in the Bay Area described above, each of his surviving children as well as his widow would have the ability to file a wrongful death claim against the estate of the driver who caused the wrong-way accident in which he was killed as well as her insurer at the time of the accident.
A deceased victim’s survivors can recover the following damages related to a person’s death in a California wrongful death action: (i) burial and funeral expenses; (ii) past and projected future loss of earnings and support (support includes things like food, clothing, shelter and financial contributions the victim may have made to the claimant); (iii) loss of services (services includes things like household services following the death of a spouse or parental advice following the death of a parent); and (iv) loss of love, comfort, society, companionship, affection and moral support as a result of the victim’s death. Each statutory survivor has his or her own individual claim under California law, so the accident victim’s wife and each of his seven children each would be entitled to pursue his or her own respective damages as a result of the accident victim’s death.
Contact JT Legal Group if A Loved One or Family Member Has Been Involved in a Fatal Motor Vehicle Accident
If you live in California and someone you love has been injured or killed as a result of someone else’s negligence in a motor vehicle accident, you should contact an experienced personal injury lawyer at JT Legal Group at (888) 529-3111 or email@example.com right away. Our experienced Los Angeles personal injury attorneys handle all manner of personal injury claims, from wrongful death claims against negligent drivers and their insurers to injuries caused in motor vehicle accidents. Without the help of a trusted personal injury law firm like JT Legal Group, your claim may be subject to getting pushed to the side or completely rejected. For more information, including a free consultation regarding your particular situation, contact our firm immediately – we’re here to help you.
Have you been injured in a motor vehicle accident as a result of someone else’s negligence? If so, we can help - contact our firm immediately.
-- Michael Avanesian, Esq.
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