If you unintentionally caused a car accident that resulted in casualties such as the death of a passenger, pedestrian, or another driver, you will find yourself charged with wrongful death or vehicular manslaughter. If this happens to you, it is advisable and wise to seek legal counsel immediately.
There are regulatory degrees of fines and penalties associated with each category of wrongful death. Therefore, if there is a lawsuit case against you for the wrongful death you have caused, it is best to speak with an attorney immediately after the accident.
What To Do In A Legal Sense If You Caused A Wrongful Death In A Car Accident
Do not leave the scene
After the accident, breathe, and assess the situation. First of all, if you discover that you caused a death of another because of the accident, you must not leave the scene.
- Hit and run: If you leave the scene of the accident, things will get much worse for you and charges will pile up.
- Call 911: It is essential to report to local authorities the accident. Give them all details such as the location, and the nature of the injuries involved. Also, contact paramedics and wait for them to provide medical attention.
- Document the scene: Even if you expect to have charges and penalties filed against you, it is still important to document the scene as your lawyer can use those for your case. Acquire the names of the victims, names of witnesses and their contact information. Likewise, take photographs or videos of the aftermath.
- Acquire a police report: Once the police are done making a report of the accident, make sure to obtain a copy of it. Again, this can help you with your case, especially when a lawyer can fully examine the report.
Read the lawsuit.
After the accident, expect that relatives of the victim/s will file a lawsuit against you. A copy of the complaint will be sent to you, and you must read the document attentively. Most importantly, you must respond to each charge or allegation written on it.
Observe the deadlines.
It is crucial that you answer formally to the complaint. If you ignore the complaint, the court will allegedly establish a “default judgment.”
This means that you will lose the lawsuit without the chance of defending yourself. Always take note of the time limit for responding to the lawsuit. There will be dates for summons, which will be provided in the complaint.
Identify the wrongful act that resulted in death
The complaint will report the incident that led to the death of your victim. You must read attentively to the complaint as it will identify your actions that caused the victim’s death.
Most likely, it will mention the act of negligence as you have killed someone out of carelessness thus leading to wrongful death. In the event of the trial, the jury will decide whether you reacted as a sensible and cautious driver would have, and whether your actions precipitated the death.
Contact your insurer
Upon receiving the complaint, it is crucial to contact your insurance company. Look and read your insurance policies. Then, make sure to give them the following information:
- name/s of the victim and the plaintiff
- Date the lawsuit was filed
- Summary of the accident that resulted in death of another
Consult your lawyer
You must also meet with your lawyer. He/she can provide advice that adjusted to your factual circumstances. You may refer to your local or state bar association for a personal injury lawyer.
Make sure to schedule an appointment and during that consultation, ask for all the necessary information on how to defend yourself. Likewise, your chosen lawyer can represent you.
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Adeline Robinson is one of most promising young law writers. She writes pieces on law topics for common readers. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.