Vehicle 1 is driving down an icy road, spins out of control, crosses the median, and hits vehicle 2 head-on, killing the driver of vehicle 2. Does the family of that driver have a wrongful death claim against the driver of vehicle 1? The answer is sometimes.
The following are 4 questions that your attorney will need find out to determine whether you have a wrongful death claim:
- Was the driver of vehicle 1 going too fast for the road conditions? A driver is negligent if he or she is driving too fast on an icy road. This is true even if the driver is driving under the speed limit.
- Was the driver of vehicle 1 impaired by alcohol or drugs? Icy roads or not, when a drunk driver (or driver impaired by drugs) causes a fatal accident, it is wrongful death. In addition, if the driver was served alcohol at a bar or restaurant, that business may be liable, meaning the family of the person killed can sue the bar or restaurant for the wrongful death. This is called a dram shop claim.
- Was the driver of vehicle 1 using a cell phone at the time of the accident? In many states driving while texting (and in some states any cell phone use) is illegal. Drivers of commercial vehicles and buses are prohibited from using a cell phone (to talk or text) while driving under federal law.
- Did the driver of vehicle 1 break any traffic law that contributed to the fatal accident, either the cause or the severity? If the so, it is likely that there is a wrongful death claim.
Attorneys Fred Pritzker and Eric Hageman are lead wrongful death lawyers at our law firm. They have won millions for our clients and were named “Attorneys of the Year” for winning a complicated wrongful death lawsuit in 2011. You can contact Fred and Eric for a free consultation here.