MITCHELL LATTOF | August 11, 2020 | News
Initially, there was some confusion about the car accident that occurred on July 24, 2020, on Old Government Street. According to Mobile Fire-Rescue, a two-vehicle crash had occurred on Old Government Street. They said two people were taken to the hospital, but a police officer on the scene said one person was dead.
In an update, Mobile Police said that the traffic accident was a single-vehicle crash. A vehicle hit a curb before crashing into a tree and flipping over. The driver had been rescued from the vehicle.
Mobile Police then released additional information about the traffic accident. In a statement, Mobile Police stated that they responded to a car accident at 6:53 Friday afternoon. The accident occurred at Topic Street and Old Government Street.
The crash involved a single vehicle that was traveling westbound on Old Government Street. The vehicle struck a traffic circle median and flipped over. It was lying on its side when officers arrived.
There were two occupants in the vehicle. A passenger in the vehicle was taken to a hospital with minor injuries. Mary Thurman, the 65-year-old driver, died at the accident scene.
Fatal Car Accidents in Alabama and the U.S.
Sadly, the above accident resulted in a fatality. According to the U.S. Bureau of Transportation statistics, 36,560 people died in traffic accidents nationwide in 2018.
That year in Alabama, there were 953 reported traffic fatalities. Five hundred forty-one (541) traffic deaths occurred in rural accidents, while 412 traffic deaths occurred in urban accidents.
Wrongful Death Claims and Car Accidents
When someone dies in a car accident, the family is left with many questions.
Why did the accident happen? Was the accident preventable? Who is responsible for the damages caused by a fatal car crash?
A wrongful death lawyer investigates the cause of the accident to determine who was responsible for causing the crash. The lawyer helps the family seek compensation for the damages caused by the death of their loved one. Money does not relieve the grief the family suffers, but it can help with the financial hardship that losing a member of the family often causes.
A wrongful death claim can also bring some measure of justice for the family members. These claims also shine a bright light on the devastation and grief caused by poor driving behaviors.
Compensation for Wrongful Death Claims in Alabama
Under Alabama’s wrongful death statute, the personal representative for the estate files the wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. The compensation received for a wrongful death lawsuit passes through the estate to the eligible heirs.
Alabama’s wrongful death laws are slightly different from the laws in other states. Families may recover punitive damages for wrongful death claims in Alabama. They are not entitled to damages for medical costs, lost income, or funeral expenses.
Juries are instructed to base the amount awarded to the family on the extent of the person’s wrongdoing who caused the death. Therefore, the more reckless or negligent a person was in causing the death, the more money the claim is worth.
What Causes Fatal Car Crashes?
While most fatal car crashes are not intentional, they can be caused by a driver’s negligence and poor driving choices. Driving behaviors that can lead to a fatal car accident include, but are not limited to:
- Drunk driving
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Distracted driving
- Following too closely or tailgating
- Road rage
- Running traffic lights
- Failure to yield the right of way
- Improper lane changes
Road hazards, defective auto parts, poor weather conditions, and defectively designed roads can also be factors in the cause of a car accident. Determining how the crash occurred is the first step in identifying the parties liable for your loved one’s death.
Other Types of Wrongful Death Claims
Although traffic accidents, including truck accidents, motorcycle crashes, pedestrian accidents, and bicycle accidents, are some of the most common claims for wrongful death, a wrongful death claim may also be related to:
- Construction accidents
- Dog bites
- Medical malpractice
- Slip and fall accidents
- Premises liability
- Product liability
- Defective medical products
Wrongful death claims can arise from any situation in which another party or person causes the death of a person. The acts of the at-fault party can be negligent or careless. However, wrongful death claims can also arise from intentional acts of violence, such as assault.
Most wrongful death claims must be filed within two years from the date of death.
Even though that sounds like a long time, a wrongful death claim may take months to investigate. It is in the best interest of the family to contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. Waiting too long to seek legal advice could jeopardize the claim.